The Wellness Roundup With Dr. Jill

Why You May See Your Lab Results Before We Do: A Helpful Message from Healthy Kids Pediatrics

We understand it can be hard waiting for, and understanding, test results after you take your child for blood work. That is why we want to tell you about some new changes in how those results will be shared and explain why you may be seeing them before our doctors.
 
In the past, when we ordered a lab or test for your child, the results would be reviewed by one of our doctors before you were notified by phone, electronically, or at a visit. But, if your child has had a test recently, you may have noticed that the results were available to you before our doctors had a chance to review them.

The 21st Century Cures Act is a new federal law that requires health care providers to give patients access to all their health information without delay. So, what does this mean for you and your family, exactly? It means any patient who is using a commercial laboratory (ex. Labcorp or Quest) or a hospital-specific portal (ex. Hackensack University Medical Center’s EPIC system) will be able to see their results as soon as they become available. In some cases, you may see your child’s results before our doctors have had the chance to review them. For some test results, this change is already occurring; and for others it is coming soon.

At Healthy Kids Pediatrics, we realize this change may be unsettling for certain families. While some people like seeing their results immediately, others may feel anxious and would prefer that their doctor review the results first.

Here is some information that we hope will help you understand your child’s results without adding any undue distress and unnecessary Googling:   

  • Some results may be marked as abnormal even though they are normal for your child. This happens because the result is compared to a preset normal range for the lab itself. 
  • Not all abnormal results are clinically relevant. Test results are combined with other markers and factors like symptoms and medical history. This is why it is important for the doctor to interpret the test results. 
  • Be aware that you may see results that are difficult to understand or indicative of serious illness. For that reason, you may want to wait to view your results until Healthy Kids Pediatrics contacts you.
  • Results are published as they become available. You may not see all your results at the same time. 
  • If you are concerned that your child’s test results will make you nervous, consider waiting until one of our staff reaches out to you. This is especially important to consider if it is late in the evening or on a weekend when we may be unavailable. Feelings of uncertainty can make the evening or weekend very stressful.

Rest assured that the physicians at Healthy Kids Pediatrics will always review your child’s results and one of our staff members will always communicate your results as we have in the past. If you do see your child’s results and notice an abnormal reading, try not to worry. Our physicians are more than happy to discuss all your child’s tests with you in detail as soon as possible.


If you have any additional questions, please contact our office. We look forward to continuing to partner with you in your child’s care. 

-HKP

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