Developing patient-friendly genetic and genomic test reports: formats to promote patient engagement and understanding.
With the emergence of electronic medical records and patient portals, patients are increasingly able to access their health records, including laboratory reports. However, laboratory reports are usually written for clinicians rather than patients, who may not understand much of the information in the report. While several professional guidelines define the content of test reports, there are no guidelines to inform the development of a patient-friendly laboratory report. In this Opinion, we consider patient barriers to comprehension of lab results and suggest several options to reformat the lab report to promote understanding of test results and their significance to patient care, and to reduce patient anxiety and confusion. In particular, patients' health literacy, genetic literacy, e-health literacy and risk perception may influence their overall understanding of lab results and affect patient care. We propose four options to reformat lab reports: 1) inclusion of an interpretive summary section, 2) a summary letter to accompany the lab report, 3) development of a patient user guide to be provided with the report, and 4) a completely revised patient-friendly report. The complexity of genetic and genomic test reports poses a major challenge to patient understanding that warrants the development of a report more appropriate for patients.
Haga, SB; Mills, R; Pollak, KI; Rehder, C; Buchanan, AH; Lipkus, IM; Crow, JH; Datto, M
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