The Cures Act signed into law in 2016 by then President Obama included many provisions. One was medical test results must be available for patients to review without delay. While doctors and patients universally think this is a desirable outcome, The New York Times found reasons to criticize it.
Its intention was to bring health care into the modern era. And the provision has successfully given patients easy access to their medical records, empowering them to play a more active role in their care by eliminating the doctor as gatekeeper.
But it has also led to experiences like mine, in which patients are confronted with material they never wanted to see. Some have learned about life-altering diagnoses and developments — from cancer to chronic illness to miscarriage — through emails and online portals, left to process the information alone.