Most patients prefer receiving their laboratory results online via email or the patient portal, despite some data privacy and security concerns, according to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.
In a survey of 200 patients with internet access, the research team found that 98% of patients wanted lab result alerts via short secure messaging services, and 100% preferred viewing their lab results online through an email or the patient portal. Preferences for accessing lab results via email versus patient portal were about evenly split. Slightly more patients (53%) preferred accessing lab results via email than via the patient portal (48%). About 82% of patients preferred to receive both normal and abnormal test results through the patient portal, a result the researchers found striking. Understanding how patients want to receive their lab results will facilitate better patient-provider communication and patient satisfaction.
Three African countries have been chosen to test the world’s first malaria vaccine, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced. Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will begin piloting the injectable vaccine next year with young children. These countries were chosen for the pilot because all have strong prevention and vaccination programs but continue to have high numbers of malaria cases. WHO is hoping to wipe out malaria by 2040 despite increasing resistance problems to both drugs and insecticides used to kill mosquitoes.
Developed by GlaxoSmithKline, the partially effective vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives if used with existing measures, the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said in a statement. The vaccine will be tested on children five to 17 months old to see whether its protective effects shown so far in clinical trials can hold up under real-life conditions. The challenge is whether impoverished countries can deliver the required four doses of the vaccine for each child.
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, an influential panel that crafts guidelines for family physicians, released its first-ever recommendations on screening for hepatitis C. Most of the task force’s advice is uncontroversial: The panel suggests that blood tests for hepatitis C be reserved for those at elevated risk of contracting the virus, namely people who have used injection drugs, spent time in prison, received blood products before 1992 or immigrated from countries where hepatitis C is more prevalent than it is in Canada. The task force also rejected calls from hepatologists to screen all the baby boomers who may have been exposed in the middle of the last century, when the then-unknown virus spread via the reusable glass and metal syringes common in the medical world at the time.
Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott said she supports the task force’s guidelines. “They’re actually very much in line with many other jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom… They’re based on what would be the best way for us, given our Canadian context, to most rapidly identify people who are as yet undiagnosed.”