AHA, HIMSS Respond to Proposal on Patient Access to Lab Reports

On Monday, the American Hospital Association submitted comments to HHS responding to a proposed rule that aims to improve patient access to laboratory testing results, AHA News reports. AHA publishes AHA News.

AHA said the proposed rule would remove barriers to health information sharing and help patients play a more active role in their care. However, the association noted that the proposed rule could create significant operational challenges for hospital labs, particularly those that provide reference testing for external health care providers.

AHA recommended that the final rule include language allowing labs to deny patient requests for test reports if a lab's authentication process cannot ensure that a test result belongs to a particular individual.

AHA also suggested that regulatory agencies work to inform patients that the proposed rule would give them access to a complete test report but that interpretation of the results still would be left to a physician (AHA News, 11/14).

HIMSS' Comments

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society also submitted comments to HHS about the proposed rule.

In the letter, HIMSS officials recommended that federal officials consider how the patient access requirements would create new costs for labs.

HIMSS also called for federal officials to provide guidance to help labs determine the appropriate authentication measures needed to verify patient identity.

In addition, HIMSS recommended that HHS align the final rule with new HIPAA requirements mandated under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package (Underwood/Lieber, HIMSS letter, 11/11).

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