Do you as a patient always learn the results of the lab tests your physician orders? Or, do you follow the “no news is good news” philosophy? If you follow the latter, your health may be in jeopardy. According to a new study investigators retrospectively reviewed medical records of 5434 ramdomly selected patients 50-69 years of age in 23 different primary care practices.
Failures to inform patients of clinically significant abnormal test results can be serious–however they appear to be relatively common. One of every fourteen abnormal tests do not get reported to the patient! This was most common in practices that used a combination of electronic medical records and paper records. The lowest failure rates were found at practices using paper records or “complete” electronic records.
PostiveTip: If your doctor’s office doesn’t call you within a week of your tests, call them and ask for the results. It might save your life!