Patricia Flatley Brennan, Ph.D., R.N., Project HealthDesign National Program Director
As director of Project HealthDesign, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that aims to explore how personal health records (PHRs) and patient-sourced data might improve health and health care, I applaud this proposed rule. Allowing patients direct access to lab test reports is an appropriate and much-needed step toward equipping them to access, understand and act on their own health data. My work with Project HealthDesign has shown me that individuals are ready for an era of data-driven health care. Patients are hungry not only for access to lab test reports and clinical visit data, but also for access to more and different kinds of health data to use in conversations with their clinicians. We’re excited to see how patients, when equipped with their own health data, might share richer insights about their everyday health with clinicians and take charge of their health between clinical visits. That’s why we see this proposed rule as a big step for patients.
However, I also recognize that changing the flow of information is going to change the clinical conversation. Everyone needs to be involved in order to ensure that this process remains efficient and effective. That’s why I urge you to concurrently develop patient education tools that will allow patients to understand and minimally interpret lab test report data. At the same time, we must also work to prepare clinicians to participate in this new era of data-driven health care.
This comment was submitted to HHS in response to a proposed rule that would allow patients direct access to their lab test reports. To read the proposed rule, visit regulations.gov.