A survey of patients’ views from eight European countries of interpretive support from Specialists in Laboratory Medicine

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Background:There is increasing interest in direct patient engagement including receiving their laboratory medicine results. We previously established an appetite for Specialists in Laboratory Medicine to support patients in understanding results. The aim of this study was to establish whether patients agreed with such an approach, determined through surveying views in eight European countries.Methods:A standardized five-question survey was administered across eight European countries to a total of 1084 individuals attending medical outpatient clinics, with 100 patients each in Poland, Serbia, Netherlands, Turkey and Czech Republic, 101 in Estonia, 116 in Denmark and 367 in Norway. The responses across countries were compared using the chi-square test (p<0.05).Results:Patients wanting their results ranged from 50% to 94% (mean 65%) of those responding positively, a mean of 72% wanted additional information with their results; direct receipt was preferred over referral to a website. Specialists in Laboratory Medicine providing such information were acceptable to a mean of 62% of those respondents wishing their results; in countries where payment was possible, there was little interest in making additional payment for such a service.Conclusions:A clear proportion of patients are interested in receiving their laboratory medicine results, the majority with explanatory notes; a role for Specialists in Laboratory Medicine is acceptable and raises the potential for direct engagement by such specialists with patients offering a new paradigm for the provision of laboratory medicine activities.

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