Reduce the risk of missing critical test results by redefining process, says new paper

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

May 26, 2010

The opportunity for a physician to miss an important test results has become more frequent as the number of tests ordered for each patient continues to climb. In order to ensure that physicians are receiving all of the test results they should be, and that any follow-up actions are taken, hospitals should consider incorporating a few best practices into their critical results processes, reports a story in American Medical News.

The story refers to a study published in a recent issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. The paper suggests that hospitals decide on a set of critical results that warrant immediate attention, as a way of cutting through the volume of results. Additional suggestions include making physicians responsible for following up on test results (including possible follow-up with a patient's primary care physician), planning for what to do if the physician cannot be reached when test results are available, and creating a defined policy about the notification of patients about test results.

To read more from American Medical News, click here.