Surveys of patients consistently demonstrate a very strong interest in having secure electronic access to their own laboratory test results. In recent years, a number of health care providers and lab service centers have offered this capability, which now extends to millions of patients in the United States. Yet, little has been published on the methods of making lab results available. This case report identifies the objectives, methods, and results of a feasibility pilot conducted at Partners Healthcare from May to September, 2006. A candidate set of results were identified, approved for release, programmed into Patient Gateway, Partners' secure patient portal, and studied. Patient and practice feedback was positive. No noticeable rise in patient concerns was observed by practice staff or through patient surveys. One-half of patients who viewed results accessed reference information linked to a result. Organizational and practice-level issues necessary to support continued rollout are described.
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