Friday November 17, 2017
Patient portals are creating some challenges for us in terms of ensuring good communication with patients. There have been a number of incidents lately that have caused people distress when they have viewed investigation results through the patient portal before they have had an outpatient appointment to explain what the result means. This is occuring particularly with CT scans and MRI.
It is important that general practice is made aware of all significant investigation results. That being said, we advise specialists to only copy a result directly to a general practice when it is expected that the practice should follow up on that result. In those cases correspondence needs to reach the practice before the result to explain the context and handover responsibility.
Other significant results should then be included in clinic letters and discharge summaries where the writer can explain the clinical context and the follow up plan.
If patients do present to general practice before a clinic letter has arrived then the GP can look up the result in CHIP although the oncologists in particular caution GPs against giving too much information as sometimes it is difficult to know what treatment will be required. As per a previous post, in most cases oncology will follow up patients within a few days of an investigation.