The recent proposal from CMS to allow patients electronic access to test results via laboratories is another step in the inexorable march toward information transparency. The agency is also trying to expand patient access rights to data disclosures (though the jury’s still out there) and has consistently chipped away at the long-standing tenet that medical data should stay in the hands of medical practitioners.
Patients should have full rights to the data generated and used to understand their health condition and develop treatments in response. But lifting the veil, while seemingly inevitable, is just as inevitably going to cause confusion and rachet up the tension between medical practitioners and those they serve.
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