Friday, 24 May 2013

How to Clearly Communicate Medical Test Results

"The typical blood test report is an exercise in obfuscation, a document that needs to be translated by a lab technician or physician, and that’s if you somehow manage to see a copy of your results."

If an individual understands their health they can feel empowered to make changes to avoid serious illness.

In 2010 Wired Magazine collaborated with Physicians at Dartmouth Medical School Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice to explore how patient results could be communicated more clearly with patients.  They reviewed a typical lab results printout and found that the content was of little to no value to the patient.

The conclusion drawn was that lab results should be made to be colourful, clear, simple, easy and relevant. A subsequent design exercise showed how this could translate graphically. The result is instantly more engaging and caters to all levels of health literacy. A heart disease and PSA test also had the same makeover.

Applying this concept to health checks is a logical step. Health Checks are the most comprehensive review of health and as a result they produce a lot of medical test results and figures. If a patient does not feel that they have been given a thorough understanding of their health after a health check then a huge opportunity to avoid serious illness can be missed.

Combining medical test data, personal lifestyle and medical history information and presenting it in a colourful, clear, simple, easy and relevant report with personalised recommendations is a great way to ensure patients are happy with their results. 

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