Under new rules announced by the US Department of Health and Human Services in February, clinical laboratories will soon be required to permit patients in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to view their test results without first being authorized by a physician.
Responding to the new requirements, Quest Diagnostics has announced the launch of a website to help patients gain direct access to their lab reports. Individuals can receive access and track their lab and other health data via MyQuest by Care360, a highly secure patient portal that enables patients to view copies of their lab test reports from Quest Diagnostics.
According to the company’s announcement, Quest provides diagnostic information services to about 30% of American adults each year. The company is believed to be the first national commercial laboratory to facilitate direct patient access to lab information through a range of free channels, which include a patient portal and mobile health app, and traditional mail, fax, and e-mail.
Although Quest patients may directly access lab data today, diagnostic information service providers have until October 6, 2014, to comply with the HHS requirement to provide lab data upon request nationwide. Quest has provided several channels for patients to request and receive their lab reports in select states where direct patient access had been allowed prior to the new federal rule.
“Empowered patients are better patients. Because most healthcare decisions are based on diagnostic insights, patients that access their lab reports may be more likely to have a well-informed dialogue about medical options with their physician,” said Jon R. Cohen, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Quest Diagnostics. “Our MyQuest by Care360 patient portal represents the next phase of consumer healthcare—where people are empowered with information to play a greater role in their healthcare choices.”
In addition to lab results, the portal enables users to view other health information, such as provider contact lists and medication reminders, and facilitates online appointment scheduling at one of Quest’s 2,200 patient service centers in the United States.
The patient portal is also designed to help physicians who use the Quest Diagnostics Care360 electronic health record (EHR) to qualify for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) EHR incentive program. Stage 2 of the CMS meaningful use program, which focuses on electronic engagement with patients, begins this year for providers who have participated in the program for at least two years. In order to meet the 2014 requirements of the CMS EHR incentive program, a physician must demonstrate that at least 50% of patients seen have online access to their health information (including lab results); 5% or more download, view, or transmit their health information electronically; and 5% or more send the provider a secure electronic message.
Physicians who use the Quest Diagnostics Care360 EHR can securely provide information and clinical summaries to patients who are registered on the MyQuest by Care360 portal, fulfilling the program requirements.
“MyQuest by Care360 is about more than serving patients and providing them with a superior customer experience. We also designed the portal to help our thousands of Care360 EHR physician clients achieve meaningful use criteria for online patient engagement and other metrics of quality care,” said Catherine T. Doherty, Quest’s senior vice president for clinical franchise solutions, which includes Care360 products and services. “The result is a highly secure, interoperable solution that will help physician practices be more efficient as well as engage, educate and retain their patients.”
Additionally, Quest has renamed its mobile health app MyQuest by Care360. The app, which was launched in 2010, had been named Gazelle. Registered users of Gazelle will receive information about the transition via their app later this month.
“Renaming our mobile health app MyQuest by Care360, the same name as the patient portal, underscores how both technologies are designed to work together to achieve the same goal: giving patients access to their Quest Diagnostics lab data,” said Doherty.
Users of the MyQuest by Care360 mobile health app may request their lab results and access many of the same technologies found on the patient portal. The app is available for download on Android and Apple devices through the app stores or via www.questdiagnostics.com/myquest. Use of the MyQuest by Care360 patient portal and mobile app, including access to lab results, is free.
For further information, visit Quest Diagnostics.