© 2023 MJH Life Sciences™ and CURE - Oncology & Cancer News for Patients & Caregivers. All rights reserved.
An expert recommends that people who are anxious wait until the doctor’s office or clinic is open before clicking on the email that holds their test results.
As of October 2022, health care providers and health technology and information networks are prohibited from blocking patients’ access to their medical records — except for certain rare exceptions.
That means most patients who see a medical provider or are given any kind of test can see clinical notes and test results as soon as they are posted online.
For some, that access may lead to an abundance of stress knowing if the results reveal a person’s cancer has returned or progressed. Others, however, may welcome the availability of those findings even if an oncologist has not yet read the results.
READ MORE: Falling Into the 'Alice in Wonderland' Google Hole of Cancer Results
“If it’s bad news, (people) can grieve a little bit and therefore be prepared and have a more productive conversation,” says Lila Pereira, a pediatric psychologist at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York.
Pereira adds that parents of children with cancer may be more welcoming of knowing their child’s test results before an appointment so they can prepare a list of questions.
This new right to see test results before hearing from one’s doctor means every patient must now come up with a strategy for handling this shift in how they receive news.
Pereira recommends that people who are anxious wait until the doctor’s office or clinic is open before clicking on the email that holds their test results.
“You want to delay your curiosity until you have access to people for support or to ask questions in the event of confusing or bad news,” she says.
Experts also suggest people take control over when — and in what setting — they read the results.
Dr. Christine Masterson, a gynecologist who serves on the Cures Act committee at Summit Health, a large practice, advises patients who know they will see an email before hearing from their doctor might want to have some emotional support lined up in case the news is bad.
“Open it with a family member,” she said, “Or have someone on speed dial.”
For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.
An App Improved Anxiety, Depression Symptoms in Patients With Cancer
Imjudo-Imfinzi Regimen Improves Survival With Manageable Side Effects in Liver Cancer Subset
Patients with HR+, HER2–, Early Breast Cancer Experienced Survival Improvement with Verzenio Plus Endocrine Therapy
Radium-223 Safe and Effective to Treat Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer