Through blogs and comments, patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

Getting Test Results


Over the years, I've filled out plenty of forms at doctors' offices, but this was a new one for me:

Getting Test Results: this form stated that as my doctor could not keep up with when and whether I had gone for testing and when or what results might be available, it was my responsibility for all test follow-up. It went on to candidly admit that sometimes test findings are overlooked or misplaced and that it was simply best for patients to be in charge of keeping up with all their tests and to initiate contact with the doctor's office to track their status and to discuss and review them. I was expected to add my name and date as an acknowledgement of this new explicit role and expectation.

This was my first visit with that doctor.

I am still shaking my head on the one hand OK maybe this just states that this responsibility is in my hands and that by signing this form, I acknowledge that as an adult, I must maintain a watchful and proactive approach to insuring I get safe, decent health care. And my doctor's office has clearly let me know that they believe it is not their role to provide this oversight so fair warning. But today's Washington Post article, When it's helpful to tune out the truth, raises some question about just how responsible we can be for our health at all times without some proactive, compassionate and understanding professional support by our side.

It is too soon in our relationship for me to know how and if this new doctor might help me confront and face troubling medical tests like a new cancer diagnosis. But signing just this one form about getting my test results, gives me pause, and it makes me suspect that maybe this new physician practice is not going to be my last.

More Blog Posts by Dorothy Jeffress

author bio

Dorothy Jeffress, MBA, MSW, MA, ( executive director, joined CFAH in March 2008. Prior positions include vice president, Center for Information Therapy, 2005-2008, where she assisted with the IxAction Alliance membership program, the annual Ix Conference and finance/administration for the IxCenter; and as the assistant vice president of Value Based Purchasing for the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) from 2003 to 2005, where she directed the eValue8 Request for Information (RFI) program. She also worked with NCQA from 1999 to 2002 where she was the director of constituent relations and a senior health care analyst in HEDIS performance measure development. She has also worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as the director of a CDC/state-funded women's health promotion and chronic disease prevention program. She has managed a TPA for self-funded employee benefit programs and also been a benefit manager for a mid-sized employer. Dorothy has an MBA from Clemson University and an MSW in clinical social work and an MA in theology from Boston College.

Tags for this article:
Patient Engagement   Dorothy Jeffress   Organize your Health Care   Inside Healthcare  

Comments on this post
Please note: CFAH reserves the right to moderate all comments posted to the Prepared Patient® Blog. Any inappropriate postings will be removed.

Star says
April 28, 2010 at 11:45 AM

I have so many comments, I don't know where to start. I am a health reporter and wrote 20 years ago for Managed Care Magazine about how 30% of docs in one study don't even report bad test results. There were, as I recall, 7 ways no news could be bad, not good, news. So since then, I have been death on not getting results. One doctor said wait two weeks before asking us. That is no longer my doc. The labs won't tell you--it has to come from the doctor. I always get the results mailed to me. I hated those stupid little recording things, but did use them. I don't see those much anymore. So what is this doc go to the lab, then you call and make an appt and then you come over (for another copay) and discuss results? Come on--we might as well just drop everything and go to damn medical school--I am sick of this stuff. My sister, on the other hand, has infinite patience with doctors--they are almost her hobby. She was just given a new dosage on a statin--I said what was your cholesterol? "I forgot to ask." So I guess this sort of patient keeps this nonsense going.