This common scenario may cause frustration for some patients. After going for tests as requested by your doctor, you then must travel back to the practice to get your results. It can be an ordeal – we understand. So, why can’t you call to get your results, or have them emailed to you?
The main reason is simple – it’s better for you.
Your GP has a duty of care to take the time to ensure you are properly informed of the various possible outcomes of a test result. Your doctor also has a duty of care to ensure that you properly digest and understand the information presented to you, which is hard to gauge over the phone.
Another important factor is time. Often, your doctor’s day is divided into 15-minute intervals. In some situations, calling many patients to communicate results over the phone is simply not feasible. Also, finding the necessary time to explain your results thoroughly may not be achievable, and therefore you wouldn’t be receiving the best care possible.
“But what if the results are fine?”
The only person who can tell you that your results are fine is your doctor. They are trained to understand test results; administrative and nursing staff aren’t. Test results may also vary – they might look fine to the untrained eye. However, if you’re still presenting with symptoms that now have an unidentified cause, it will be something your doctor will want to explore further.
For these reasons, medical centres often have a practice policy that no results will be given over the phone.
What should you do?
We cannot stress enough that it’s the patient’s responsibility to follow up on their test results, and we actively encourage our patients to be proactive in their healthcare and book an appointment for results before leaving the clinic.
Unless encryption is used, email is not a secure platform for communicating sensitive information such as test results. Also, to protect your privacy, you should never email personal information such as your birth date, address, Medicare card number, etc. to our clinic.