When your doctor orders a lab test to help evaluate your health or diagnose a problem, you may receive a copy of the results from your doctor, along with their analysis and recommendations for your health. In most cases, that system works just fine. But did you know you have the right to request your test results directly from the laboratory that conducted the analysis?
This is due to a 2014 ruling by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The ruling amended regulations in the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) that in some cases prevented labs from providing these results. (LifeBrite is a CLIA-certified laboratory, so we’re governed by the ruling.) The ruling also revised HIPAA’s Privacy Rule, which gives patients the right to access their protected health information, removing an exception for clinical laboratories.
You can now request your results directly from the clinical laboratory anytime, and you don’t need your healthcare provider’s approval to do so.
Why might you do this? You might want your results:
To take to another doctor for a second opinion.
To share with another specialist without the hassle of requesting that your doctor forward them.
To keep your own consolidated health records at home.
To store as a backup or a reference for your family or descendants.
To study on your own for a better understanding of your health.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, speed may also be a factor. Maybe you’re concerned that you may have contracted or been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Maybe you’re getting tested as a precaution prior to coming in contact with a high-risk family member. Whatever your reasons, your coronavirus test results are highly time-sensitive and may be a matter of life and death for you or someone you love. Contacting the clinical laboratory directly is the fastest way to get those results.
Ultimately, all of this comes down to empowering yourself with information and taking ownership of your protected health data. It’s data about your body — your health — and you should be able to access it to inform your personal health decisions.
“At LifeBrite, we produce valuable information that we use to empower patients and their doctors,” says CEO Christian Fletcher. “That data is yours and should be treated as such. Aligning your personal health decisions with applied science is why we do this.”
Note that, while clinical labs will provide you with your results, they generally don’t interpret them for you. You should still always discuss your test results with your doctor, who has the training and experience to interpret them correctly and advise you on the best decisions for your health.
Interested in accessing your LifeBrite test results? Contact us anytime to make a request.