Study shows problems managing test results
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 20, 2009
An analysis of four Ohio family medicine practices revealed that none consistently adhered to officewide management practices for handling patients' test results, although two had written protocols or procedures, according to a study in the July/August Annals of Family Medicine (link).
Family physicians and general practitioners order lab tests in 29% to 38% of patient visits and imaging studies in 10% to 12% of visits, researchers said. For more than a decade, primary care physicians have reported that systems for reporting results to patients are unsatisfactory.
Researchers identified two key components for a high-quality results management system: an awareness of safety, which was often exemplified by strong practice leadership and open communication; and the adoption of appropriate technology to follow-through on test results, rather than relying on staff memory.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/07/20/prbf0720.htm.