A system for delivering clinical laboratory results by e-mail

abstract | author | presentation

Electronic communication between care providers and their patients is an essential component of medicine. However, there are still sceptics because of widespread concerns regarding confidentiality of medical information on the web.

E-mail is fast, cheap and frequently accessible feature. Tendency of this project is to put results reporting via e-mail in daily routine practice for both physicians and patients. Advantages of sending lab results using e-mail are: doctor can have patients lab results available as soon as possible on his computer (he can act faster if necessary); results can easily be integrated in the patient electronic medical record; patients do not need to wait or to come again to the laboratory for their results.

We form our own list of features for fully safe and secure sending lab results: patients and doctors have to fill and sign written acceptance; results data are send as attachment in portable document format (Acrobat Reader®) which is saved in standard secure form (allowing the recipient only printing the document). There is return receipt request that inform us when the message is received successfully. However, a malicious computer expert can bypass this security measure, and alter the results of tests. Furthermore, there could be certain periods of time when Internet access would not be available which is also one of the downsides of this system.

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