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Old 14.08.2013, 12:05
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Blood test results confidentiality?

I am little confused about blood test results confidentiality. Some months before, my doctor had done several blood tests but she did not seem so interested in giving me the results, so every time I had to call her to ask about the results. Someday I received the invoice from the insurance company without knowing the details so I called the insurance company with the surprise that they have all the information about my test results, I mean ALL the information (levels, ranges, etc.) even better than me! Also, every time I had a test I had to ask for the results to my doctor and she gave me just an excel sheet with the numbers, not the official form from the laboratory. Is it normal? I am wondering, if I want to go to another doctor, I do not have any formal blood test results to show.


Back at my country (Spain) you normally receive the results directly from the LAB as part of the confidentiality law and you can take the results back to your doctor personally. Doesn’t it work in that way in Switzerland?


Rgds
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Old 14.08.2013, 12:36
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

Your medical records belong to you. You are entirely within your rights to ask for the blood test results. However, many people, myself included, leave them with the doctor.

As far as the insurance company goes, I'd have thought they need to know why you took the tests (to make sure that it's right that they pay the bill) and what the test were. I can't really see why they'd need to know what the results were.
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Old 14.08.2013, 13:00
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

I've had a similar problem getting test results from my doctor. This largely stems from a (not uncommon) paternalistic attitude, the (incorrect) assumption that we mere mortals could not possibly understand the numbers. I've had this from GPs and specialists.

Stand your ground and ask for a full copy of the test results. As NAT says, it is indeed your right. What I have found that works is "I will be moving back to the US, and therefore will need to have complete records."

More important - if your doctor won't give you your test results, look for a doctor who has a tad more respect for his/her patients.
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Old 14.08.2013, 13:14
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

mine gives me a call to say the results are back and then asks if i like a copy my email or post.

if they dont, just ask - its not hard.
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Old 17.08.2013, 08:24
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

The rule of thumb is that you need to ask. It's a bit paternalistic. One thing that my Swiss doctors do better than US doctors is communicate with each other, so that my orthopedic surgeon shares results with my primary care doc, and my oncologist shares info with gyn and primary care, and I don't have to worry about continuity of care so much. When i first moved here, i asked for reports myself, but now, i look at the numbers in the doctor's office and I'm happy. I don't know about Spain, but here docs seem to be very good about communication to each other. I think it's because insurance covers time spent in communicating to other docs and to patients.

I did see a geneticist - i'm considering some testing, and he told me he'd send me a letter summarizing, but I've not received it yet, so i have to call him about that. Also, he told me not to look up the mutation online, it would make me crazy. Wrong thing to tell me. I did look it up and it was very helpful.

But you should ask, and if you don't get the info, find a new doc. I know that's not always easy, however.
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Old 17.08.2013, 20:22
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

I have a large excess so always end up paying, I point out that I will only pay after I have received the results...........works a treat
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Old 17.08.2013, 22:43
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

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Stand your ground and ask for a full copy of the test results. As NAT says, it is indeed your right. What I have found that works is "I will be moving back to the US, and therefore will need to have complete records."
Haha. Reminds me that a coworker mentioned this being the best way to get your tax-form processed very quickly. You don't need to say you'll move back. Just say: "I intend to travel for the next several months and will be out of reach.".
Because they don't know if you owe the money or they owe you, they have to move your form to the top of the stack ;-)
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Old 22.08.2013, 11:27
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

And what about the other test results at the gyne anual check-up? I also asked for them and the doctor's assistance told me that they are in german so they can not give me the results (¿?) even though I told her that i will take them to my doctor back at home.
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Old 22.08.2013, 11:34
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

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And what about the other test results at the gyne anual check-up? I also asked for them and the doctor's assistance told me that they are in german so they can not give me the results (¿?) even though I told her that i will take them to my doctor back at home.
My doctor doesn't send me the "lab results" for the annual pap smear, instead she just sends me a confirmation that the results are fine, or once when the results were inconclusive the note required me to make another appointment for a follow up.

How do you normally pay for your visits to the doctor? Usually I get the bill directly from them with a copy of the lab results on the back. I'm not a doctor so haven't a clue what the lab results mean so I just file it away and assume the doctor will call me if anything looks weird.

I would go back to your doctor and insist on having the results, in German if necessary. Basically they haven't "completed" your consultation so you don't have to pay them until they do.
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Old 22.08.2013, 11:53
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

I got the invoice from my insurance company but without details, that´s why in one occasion I called them asking for, with the suprise that they have them but not me. Even the girl started to tell me "Harmful organisms negative..." and so on!! I was shocking hearing her telling me the results through phone but not my doctor.

And yes, my doctor just told me that everything was ok but I think if I wouldn´t find out that the insurance company has such information and not me I wouldn´t start to ask for it.
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Old 22.08.2013, 12:26
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

I've never received results from my insurance company. Doctors here seem to follow the rule of notification in the case of bad news only. But, if you call your docs to ask specifically about your results, they should give them to you, german or not.
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Old 22.08.2013, 12:42
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

Modern practices will do blood tests before you see the Dr & the Dr will have the results when you see him 15 minutes later . Anything else seems very third world to me.
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Old 22.08.2013, 13:08
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

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And what about the other test results at the gyne anual check-up? I also asked for them and the doctor's assistance told me that they are in german so they can not give me the results (¿?) even though I told her that i will take them to my doctor back at home.
Where is your doc, in which canton? Patient right is cantonal law.

Canton Lucerne has wibbly wobbly law regarding patient rights.
Gesundheitsgesetz Canton of Lucerne
Quote:
§ 25 Patientenrechte und -pflichten
Bei der Berufsausübung sind die Rechte der Patientinnen und Patienten, wie die Aufklärungspflicht, das Selbstbestimmungsrecht und das Einsichtsrecht in die eigene Krankengeschichte, zu beachten.
and
Quote:
§ 26 Aufzeichnungspflicht
2 Die Aufzeichnungen sind während zehn Jahren aufzubewahren.
Short translation: The patient has to be infomed, his will has to be respected, he has the right to see his documentation. The documentaion has to be retaine for ten years.

Canton of Zug?
Much better. The right of the patient are clearly defined.

Gesundheitsgesetz Canton of Zug
Quote:
§ 35 Aufklärungspflicht
1 Die behandelnden Personen haben die Patientinnen und Patienten unaufgefordert mit der gebotenen Sorgfalt, in verständlicher und geeigneter Form aufzuklären über

a) die Untersuchungen und die Diagnosen;
and
Quote:
§ 36 Aufzeichnung
[...]
5 Die Patientinnen und Patienten können die Dokumentation kostenlos einsehen oder eine Kopie verlangen. Nach Ablauf der Mindestaufbewahrungsfrist von zehn Jahren haben sie Anspruch auf kostenlose Herausgabe der Dokumentation und weiterer Unterlagen im Original (ohne Rückbehaltung von Kopien). Das Einsichts- und Herausgaberecht kann aus überwiegenden schützenswerten Interessen Dritter eingeschränkt werden.
Short translation: You have to be informed about any diagnoisis and its result. You have the right to see all documents free of charge and you can request copies (does not have to be free of charge). After ten years you may request all documents as originals, the doctor may keep copies only with your explicit consent.

Canton of Zurich.
Not as detailed as Zug but not as worse as Lucerne.
Gesundheitsgesetz Canton of Zurich

Quote:
§ 13 Patientendokumentation
3 Die Patientendokumentation wird während zehn Jahren nach Abschluss der letzten Behandlung aufbewahrt.
4 Die Patientinnen und Patienten haben Anspruch auf Herausgabe der Patientendokumentation in Kopie. Die Herausgabe kann mit Rücksicht auf schutzwürdige Interessen Dritter eingeschränkt werden.
Short translaation: The patient documentation has to be retained for at least ten years. The patient has the right to get a copy of his documentation.

Gesundheitsverordnung Canton of Schwyz
Quote:
§ 43 Einsicht in die Krankengeschichte
1 Die Patientin oder der Patient kann Einsicht in die Krankengeschichte und die dazu gehörenden Unterlagen nehmen oder Kopien davon verlangen.

2 Dieses Recht steht bei minderjährigen oder unter umfassender Beistandschaft stehenden Personen auch der gesetzlichen Vertretung zu, soweit urteilsfähige Patientinnen oder Patienten dem nicht widersprechen. Ebenso steht dieses Recht der mit einem Vorsorgeauftrag oder einer Patientenverfügung beauftragten Person zu.
Short translation: The patient has the right to see his documentation and get copies of it. The same right have guardians of minors as long as the patient does not object. The same right have persons deignated in a patients will.


Remark regarding all Cantons:
There are certain limitation regarding the right to see its own patient documentation. Some specific information may be witheld but this does not apply to lab results.
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Last edited by aSwissInTheUS; 22.08.2013 at 13:31.
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Old 22.08.2013, 13:26
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

I am surprised as with our GP, results are always given to us immediately by post- and of course no need to ask. About confidentiality- insurances do insist on knowing if you have any supplementary insurance, not sure about basic.

In the UK, if you want to get a mortgage or life insurance, or private health care, etc, you have to agree for you doctor to write a full report on your health state, so they can properly assess the risks. OH has a condition which meant we were severely restricted in the kind of mortgage and life insurance we could get, and at much much higher cost than normal.
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Old 22.08.2013, 14:56
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

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I am little confused about blood test results confidentiality. Some months before, my doctor had done several blood tests but she did not seem so interested in giving me the results, so every time I had to call her to ask about the results. Someday I received the invoice from the insurance company without knowing the details so I called the insurance company with the surprise that they have all the information about my test results, I mean ALL the information (levels, ranges, etc.) even better than me! Also, every time I had a test I had to ask for the results to my doctor and she gave me just an excel sheet with the numbers, not the official form from the laboratory. Is it normal? I am wondering, if I want to go to another doctor, I do not have any formal blood test results to show.


Back at my country (Spain) you normally receive the results directly from the LAB as part of the confidentiality law and you can take the results back to your doctor personally. Doesn’t it work in that way in Switzerland?


Rgds
Reading between the lines here, it seems that you 'called' the doctor for the results........ this is Switzerland remember, one of the worlds most powerful corrosive agents to money known to man.
(arguably 'women' would be the other)

The doctor can't charge you for advice over the phone, you have to make an appointment, get stung again, and then you get the results.


I am however surprised that the insurance company gave you the results. Technically, they are your results, but they probably did pay for them.
I guess ownership of data in this case is shared in this case, as they need to know your medical history to calculate your premium.

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Your medical records belong to you. You are entirely within your rights to ask for the blood test results. However, many people, myself included, leave them with the doctor.

As far as the insurance company goes, I'd have thought they need to know why you took the tests (to make sure that it's right that they pay the bill) and what the test were. I can't really see why they'd need to know what the results were.
Duty of disclosure I guess.

As mentioned, if the test was covered by the insurance, then they paid for them. They need to know this data to know if the claim was fraudulent, and also the results for further assessment of your premiums.

Usually this information is held under lock and key (even within the company), so I'm surprised that they gave it out.... at least it was to the OP (so I assume they established who it was somehow).
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Old 22.08.2013, 15:40
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

Quote:
I am surprised as with our GP, results are always given to us immediately by post- and of course no need to ask. About confidentiality- insurances do insist on knowing if you have any supplementary insurance, not sure about basic.

In the UK, if you want to get a mortgage or life insurance, or private health care, etc, you have to agree for you doctor to write a full report on your health state, so they can properly assess the risks. OH has a condition which meant we were severely restricted in the kind of mortgage and life insurance we could get, and at much much higher cost than normal.
It's quite possible to get a mortgage in the UK without any life insurance. I did so twice. I generally avoid any insurance product if I possibly can, no doubt you were sold an endowment mortgage, which has been bad news to anyone who took out such a product in the last 30 years.
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Old 22.08.2013, 15:43
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

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Duty of disclosure I guess.

As mentioned, if the test was covered by the insurance, then they paid for them. They need to know this data to know if the claim was fraudulent, and also the results for further assessment of your premiums.
Most policies have an excess so it's quite likely that all the costs are not covered. The insurance companies do not base premiums on risk for basic insurance, it's against the law!
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Old 02.09.2013, 14:52
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Re: Blood test results confidentiality?

Well, at the end I received the results from the LAB but not from my GP. I tried, for the last time, to get them from my doctor, I called her again saying all kind of reasons for why I needed copies of my results but I received, again, the excel sheets.

I was really upset but I remembered that I saw the LAB information in one of insurance´s invoices so I reached the LAB, asked for my results and voila! the next day I got them.

It was a big surprise how easy was after trying for so many times with my doctor!!
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