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Waiting For Medical Results Can Be A Test Of Patience

07/24/12

  05:13:58 pm, by MedBen5   , 212 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Waiting For Medical Results Can Be A Test Of Patience

Anyone who has had to wait for important medical test results knows how stressful the experience can be, as thoughts alternative between hoping for the best and fearing for the worst. Increased online availability of test results speeds up the process, but leaves the patient unassisted when interpreting the information.

The New York Times highlights the physical and mental effects of prolonged anticipation:

“The impact of waiting for test results on patient anxiety is significant. It has been studied in breast cancer biopsy patients, infertility patients and patients undergoing genetic testing, among others. Stress alone, these studies show, can affect recovery time and exacerbate side effects from medications. The psychological toll in households can also be harsh, especially among family members with clashing coping styles – if, say, one person has an optimistic bent, while the other tends to presume the worst.”

The Times also suggests some pretest questions to ask doctor and medical staff:

  • What precisely can this test reveal? What are its limitations?
  • How long should results take, and why? Will the doctor call with results, or should I contact the office?
  • If it’s my responsibility to call, what is the best time, and whom should I ask for?
  • What is the doctor’s advice about getting results online?

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