I am one of those people that has blood work done at least once a month. I have to say it doesn’t bother me (I watch) and we usually don’t have trouble getting a vein. Regardless of whether it’s easier for me or not, I still dread going. Maybe it’s my aversion to rigid authority … the appointments are set with a 1-2 day window prior to the actual appointment date or the entire month is skipped. It could be that at least once a month I have a cold. Or, it could be that I just hate waiting for my test results.
When a good friend brought it to my attention that I didn’t have to wait for my lab test results, I was stunned. Now, this may not be news to some people, I realize; and, others may not care much about it, but I have to tell you I was both intrigued and peeved at the same time. I was intrigued about the possibilities this information has for me and yet peeved because I want to know why I haven’t heard about this before?
Again, this could just be my expectation that simply because the test was ordered for my health, using my blood, that I would have a right to see the results in their entirety, when they are ready. My interest in getting the information quickly overcame such resistance.
To date, feedback on my test results is only given in one of two ways: when I go in for my semi-annual appointment or if there is a problem. To me, that is an unacceptable number of test results that I don’t hear about; and not just because I feel it is my right to have access to my results.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is a screening marker for inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis because it measures the interaction of red blood cells with inflammatory proteins. The higher the number, the more active my disease, and the more active my disease, the more likely I will have to increase the amount of medication I take. You can see why that would be important to me.
Of course, my rheumatologist will call me if and when we need to take action so does getting access to this information really change anything? That’s a really good question.
At the end of the day, it’s my information, my health. I pay the consequences and carry the mantle of responsibility for managing my disease with the resources that I can access. It is all about a sense of control over something I have so little control over. I don’t control when the appointments are, I don’t control how often I get to see my specialist, I don’t get to control my inflammation, fatigue or pain. If I get access to a little more information so I know what’s up ahead of me, then why wouldn’t I do so?
I don’t want to wait until my rheumatologist calls me to tell me “we” have a problem. To me, just waiting in the darkness as a passive participant is no longer an option. Getting access to my test results has everything to do with actively taking control and responsibility for my life.
What am I doing for myself this month? I’m checking out Dynacare Plus to get access to my lab results because it’s my blood, my results and I have a right to access it when I want to.
So, when you ask if it matters that I can access my entire blood test result when I want, I respond: Damn right it matters.