The 21st Century Cures Act includes a provision that allows patients to electronically access all of their electronic health information at no cost to them. This mandate prohibits information blocking (with some exceptions) and includes the disclosure of consultation notes in addition to all reports and images.
RIS has provided patient access to their reports and images through our medical records department for several years now. In September 2021, we will be launching a patient portal that will allow patients immediate electronic access to their reports as soon as they are available.
What this means is that patients may see their imaging results and notes before you have had the chance to review them.
Providers can only block an individual patient note if it meets one of the following:
- The patient requests not to share the note in their health records
- In the judgment of the provider, sharing the note puts the life or physical safety of the patient at risk (this does not apply to emotional risk)
Most agree that patient access to the entirety of their health records is a good idea; however, there may be certain patients for whom knowing the results of say, a PET/CT cancer diagnosis before their provider can share this information with them, could lead to unintended consequences.
To help prevent misunderstandings and possible confusion regarding radiology reports, RIS has posted a helpful guide on our website to assist patients when reviewing their radiology reports and images online. We are also encouraging patients to consult with you regarding their test results before they draw their own conclusions and to make sure they have given you a chance to review the results before attempting to do so. We will soon be including a printed educational flyer for the patient to read after their imaging test that reinforces this information.
Should a patient have additional questions after reading their report and after consulting with you, we are always here to help.