How well do you understand your blood test report?

Remember that popular visual from the movie Matrix – a black computer screen with green characters trickling down in streams, which looked cool, remote, enigmatic and became the ultimate symbol of sci-fi? That’s exactly how I feel reading my blood test report with stuff like SGOT, SGPT, HS-CRP etc. What do they even mean? Does bold font mean I am going to die or will I still have time to watch should there be one more movie in the Matrix series?

And in the brief ten minutes I get with the doctor I don’t want to sound silly asking basic questions and making a fool of myself. Maybe this stuff was taught in high school biology when I was not paying attention in the class. And the net result is that even at the end of showing the report to the doctor the sci-fi plot in my report is still not clear.

Traditional health reports provide factual information using medical terminology which is not easy to understand. Also, they tend to focus on a particular parameter in question but fail to add all different parameters to give a holistic evaluation of health. So, the question remains – How well can common people understand their health reports?

 

What can be done to make it better?

1. Give a holistic view: Rather than get lost in details of specific parameters in isolation, put them all together to give a holistic view of health

2. Simplify by use of colors which are easy to understand: Medical terms and acronyms are Greek and Latin to the person actually affected. However, if somebody were to simplify it in plain English, wouldn’t it be easier to relate?

report summary

3. Make targets clear: Performing better needs clarity of goals. So, health reports should help doctors set clear goals such that patients don’t have any ambiguity regarding where they have to go

4. Explain the cause/effects: Explaining the cause and effects of any abnormality helps in people appreciating the importance of corrective action better. Suggestions in terms of diet do’s and don’ts and follow up tests help with the next steps.

report risks

So, we at Health Vectors did exactly what was needed. We created a beautiful health report that makes the patient’s life easier and enables them to have a more informed discussion with their doctor. Get in touch with us to get yours now!

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Ashwini Bhat

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