patients now rightfully demanding more information

It used to be that the first stop for people who aren’t feeling well was the doctor’s office, where they could get an exam and hopefully some answers about their condition. However, things have now changed, such that the doctor’s office is often the second stop for ailing parties.

The reason for this is simple: Many people first turn to the Internet, where they can now access a wealth of reliable and comprehensive medical information about their symptoms, and possible diagnoses 24/7.

This phenomenon has naturally served to create a new breed of insightful and inquisitive patients who want to understand as much as possible about their condition. To illustrate, consider a recently published study in the Journal of the American College of Radiology gauging patient interest in conversations with physicians about their radiology reports.

How was the study structured?

Over a four-week period, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco administered surveys to 2,500 adults who underwent either magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) at two area hospitals to learn more about how they wanted to hear about their test results. 25 percent of these adults completed the survey.

What did they determine?

The researchers found that nearly 66 percent of the respondents preferred to receive and discuss their radiology test results with their treating physician, while 33 percent preferred to receive and discuss their radiology tests with the radiologist who analyzed the imaging tests.

What about the actual radiology test?

In keeping with what we discussed earlier, 64 percent of the respondents expressed some interest in receiving a copy of their radiology test.

Is there any benefit to a patient receiving a copy of the radiology test?

According to the researchers, it is perhaps not surprising that patients, who are now more knowledgeable than ever, would want to secure a copy of their radiology test/report. However, they also indicated that unless the patient has a medical background, the radiology test/report might not be the most easy document to understand given its use of arcane medical terms.

Interestingly, the researchers did indicate that many places are now recognizing this desire for more information on the part of the patient and, to that end, are preparing both a standard radiology test/report for the treating physician and a more readily comprehensible report specifically designed for the patient.

It’s highly encouraging to see more people taking an active role in the management of their health, as it not only provides them with much needed peace of mind, but also serves to hold medical professionals accountable for proper communication and proper care.

Would you count yourself among those who conduct extensive online research of your health issues and demand regular communication with your physicians? If so, how long have you done this?

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