Delaying Display of Test Results

The content of a test result can be withheld from a patient for the number of days specified in the sending HL7 message. However, this does not:

  • Stop a professional viewing the full details during this time.

  • Prevent a patient from seeing which test result has been sent into their PKB record and when the content will be made available to them.

  • Prevent a patient from being notified of a test result being sent to their record.

Recommended delays

If customers wish to use the delay capability, PKB recommends this is applied only to results with text and for no more than 2 weeks. Text results may include distressing information, for example "possibility of cancer", so the delay provides time for the medical team to counsel the patient about the test result.

We recommend that the delay should not exceed 2 weeks because after that time the danger of the patient not knowing the result is greater than the harm of receiving bad news without counselling.

To support our customers with reviewing the need for delays and privacy labels with their own test results, the table below (download here) shows common delay periods and privacy labels used across PKB in existing integrations.

PKB privacy labels and delays