News Feature | November 25, 2015

Your Patients Prefer A Secure Patient Portal For Sensitive Test Results

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Mobile Patient Portal

Most patients prefer receiving sensitive test results via password-protected patient portals or websites rather than through the mail, fax, or over the phone.

A survey of more than 400 patients found most prefer to access test results through secure patient portals rather than over the phone or via fax. The report, Fierce Health IT explains, found patients were open to receiving results for tests like blood cholesterol through text, email, or voicemail. However, they preferred results of more sensitive testing, such as sexually transmitted diseases or genetic tests, to be delivered in a more secure way.

“Communication with patients may need to be on a case-by-case basis — every individual may have a personal preference, and there may be a way to indicate those preferences in the patient’s record. The goal of this study was to try to better understand these preferences, so we can improve doctor-patient communication,” says the study’s lead researcher, Jeannine LaRocque, PhD, assistant professor of human science in the School of Nursing & Health Studies at GUMC in a press release.

iHealth Beat reports researchers examined seven types of communication commonly used for relaying test results:

● fax

● home voicemail

● letter

● mobile phone text

● password-protected patient portal website

● personal email

● phone voicemail

Overall, patients were least comfortable receiving information via fax. The majority did not want to receive a home voicemail, mobile text message or a fax.

“With these highly sensitive medical results such as genetic test results, patients may not trust the privacy of methods such as personal voicemail or email, whereas password-protected websites provide an added level of security, which may be necessary as these tests become more prevalent in primary care practices,” LaRocque says.