Prescription for problems? - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Prescription for problems?

(WOIO) -

Should you get your medical test results straight from the lab…

Without waiting for your doctor?

Proposed new laws will put you in the doctors seat!

After undergoing a biopsy on a lump in her neck, Debbie Phillips had to wait more than a week to get her results.

"It really was torturous," said Phillips.  

The stress of waiting for a diagnosis isn't imagined, according to a study by Dr. Elvira Lang.   She compared levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in women waiting for biopsy results.

"We found women that who had not been told what their results are five days after their biopsies were as stressed as women who had just been told that they have cancer," said Dr. Lang. 

Under federal rules, doctors are required to share results within 30 days, unless a patient is notified of extenuating circumstances.

"If you get an x-ray it's typically read the same day but that doesn't mean you can will get those results the same day. If you have a test of a biopsy it may be necessary that it has to be processed in a very special way which may take several days," said Dr. Lang.  

But what if several days becomes several months?  Or what if you never hear?  A recent study found up to 36% of test results were delayed as long as 90 days, or patients were never notified, including some with possible malignancies.

Now, the Department of Health and Human services wants to make sure that doesn't happen. 

The agency is proposing a rule change that would mean labs would send results directly to the patient as soon as they're available.  

"There's a big movement to give patients access to more and more information and on the whole that can be a fantastic thing," said psychologist, Guy Montgomery.

The advantage in that, less wait time.

"You don't want to be on a Friday evening not having heard about what your result is," said Dr. Lang.   

However, the lab work may be technical and confusing, so the American Medical Association wants a disclaimer attached to the results, along with a directive to discuss results with your physician to find out what they really mean. 

Psychologist Guy Montgomery agrees.

"We want to be very careful that we don't send those patients into a heightened level of anxiety when that's not really appropriate," said psychologist, Guy Montgomery.  

The proposal is still under review with no date set yet for it to take effect.  Meantime, Dr. Montgomery cautions patients not to let the waiting consume them.  

"Although it's natural to worry, let's make sure this is not interfering with things that you want to do in your life," said Montgomery.  

After eight long days, Debbie's test results showed she needed immediate surgery.  Even after that, she had more waiting to do.

"I didn't learn for six weeks or so whether I had cancer… and I didn't," said Debbie. 

There are no laws in Ohio that govern a patients' access to lab results.

Copyright 2012 WOIO. All rights reserved.

  • FOX19 HeadlinesMore>>

  • Ronny Jackson withdraws from consideration for VA chief

    Ronny Jackson withdraws from consideration for VA chief

    Thursday, April 26 2018 12:28 AM EDT2018-04-26 04:28:35 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 12:50 PM EDT2018-04-26 16:50:38 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump's choice to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, leaves a Senate office building after meeting individually with some members of the committee that would vet...(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump's choice to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, leaves a Senate office building after meeting individually with some members of the committee that would vet...
    Nomination of White House doctor to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs sufferes another blow with allegations of recklessly prescribing drugs and drunken behavior.Full Story >
    Nomination of White House doctor to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs sufferes another blow with allegations of recklessly prescribing drugs and drunken behavior.Full Story >
  • Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Thursday, April 26 2018 2:39 AM EDT2018-04-26 06:39:08 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 12:46 PM EDT2018-04-26 16:46:12 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    Full Story >

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    Full Story >
  • Facebook advertisers shrug off its privacy scandal

    Facebook advertisers shrug off its privacy scandal

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 4:38 PM EDT2018-04-25 20:38:35 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 12:43 PM EDT2018-04-26 16:43:12 GMT
    (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File). FILE- In this March 28, 2018, file photo, visitors take photos in front of the Facebook logo at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook reports earnings Wednesday, April 25.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File). FILE- In this March 28, 2018, file photo, visitors take photos in front of the Facebook logo at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook reports earnings Wednesday, April 25.
    What privacy scandal? Facebook advertisers shrug off concerns.Full Story >
    What privacy scandal? Facebook advertisers shrug off concerns.Full Story >
Powered by Frankly