It’s Not About The Box Improving Care at Group Health with People, Process and Technology

November 24, 2008

Radiology results on MyGroupHealth

Filed under: MyGroupHealth,Radiology — Tags: , — Matt Handley @ 2:23 pm

Our group has led the way nationally on many different eHealth initiatives – the remarkable penetration of MyGroupHealth sign up, secure messaging as a system property, auto-release of abnormal lab results to name a few.  Now it is time for us to follow some others and take a next step.

We have historically been timid about releasing radiology results to patients, worried about several things:

  • The complexity of the language – “they will call about every test and ask things like “what is a retroperitoneum?”
  • Radiologist sometimes use language that generates more rather than less uncertainty (e.g., normal CXR, but cannot rule out cancer”
  • That the patient learn they have a serious medical condition from the web rather than from a conversation with their doctor

All of these are legitimate issues, of course, and they are very reminiscent of our concerns prior to auto-releasing lab tests online.

So what are others doing?  At KP Northern California they mail results of imaging results to patients, and at Beth Israel and Palo Alto Medical Foundation they auto-release them to patients through the web.  None of these groups report that this has caused difficulties, and all believe that it is an important patient safety improvement, allowing patients to catch missed results.

I will be advancing this work with the help of Bob Karl, head of radiology and GHP board member, who believes strongly that we should work to increase the transparency of wour work in support of our patients.

One of my favorite quotes about transparency is the patient motto “Nothing about me, without me”.  We hope to be able to get closer to that aspiration in the new year.

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