Patients’ choices regarding online access to laboratory, radiology and pathology test results on a hospital patient portal

Pauline Hulter*, Wesley Langendoen, Bettine Pluut, Guus G. Schoonman, Remco Luijten, Femke van Wetten, Kees Ahaus, Anne Marie Weggelaar-Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The disclosure of online test results (i.e., laboratory, radiology and pathology results) on patient portals can vary from immediate disclosure (in real-time) via a delay of up to 28 days to non-disclosure. Although a few studies explored patient opinions regarding test results release, we have no insight into actual patients’ preferences. To address this, we allowed patients to register their choices on a hospital patient portal. Our research question was: When do patients want their test results to be disclosed on the patient portal and what are the reasons for these choices? We used a mixed methods sequential explanatory design that included 1) patient choices on preferred time delay to test result disclosure on the patient portal for different medical specialties (N = 4592) and 2) semi-structured interviews with patients who changed their mind on their initial choice (N = 7). For laboratory (blood and urine) results, 3530 (76.9%) patients chose a delay of 1 day and 912 (19.9%) patients chose a delay of 7 days. For radiology and pathology results 4352 (94.8%) patients chose a delay of 7 days. 43 patients changed their mind about when they wanted to receive their results. By interviewing seven patients (16%) from this group we learned that some participants did not remember why they made changes. Four participants wanted a shorter delay to achieve transparency in health-related information and communication; to have time to process bad results; for reassurance; to prepare for a medical consultation; monitoring and acting on deviating results to prevent worsening of their disease; and to share results with their general practitioner. Three participants extended their chosen delay to avoid the disappointment about the content and anxiety of receiving incomprehensible information. Our study indicates that most patients prefer transparency in health-related information and want their test results to be disclosed as soon as possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0280768
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2023 Hulter et al.

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