Patients prefer password-protected test results

New York, Nov 2 (IANS) Patients are comfortable receiving the results of common medical tests through password-protected websites or portals, a study has found.

Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Centre (GUMC) found that while the majority of 409 participants in the study preferred password-protected web portals, they did not mind a variety of non- in-person communication methods including email, texts or voicemail for receiving results of tests such as blood cholesterol levels.

However, that is not the case for two very sensitive tests — non-HIV sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and genetic test results. In those cases, receiving the results via a password-protected patient portal/website was highly preferred.

“Communication with patients may need to be on a case-by-case basis — every individual may have a personal preference, and there may be a way to indicate those preferences in the patient’s record,” said study lead researcher Jeannine LaRocque.

The goal of the study was to try to better understand patient preferences so as to improve doctor-patient communication.

The seven methods of communications surveyed were a password-protected patient portal website, phone voicemail, personal email, letter, home voicemail, fax and mobile phone text.

Researchers found that in all categories, patients were least comfortable receiving information via fax.

The study was published in the latest issue of Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

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