Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar     Subscribe     Contact Us    


Track & Follow Up on Your Tests


 

Missed or delayed diagnosis is one of the most often litigated allegations in medical malpractice.[1] These claims often result from tracking and follow-up procedure failures.

Lab testing is one of three key areas (the others are referrals to specialists and missed/canceled appointments) where tracking and follow-up are vitally important. A retrospective study researched the frequency of patients not being informed of test results, concluding there was a 7.1 percent failure rate.[2] Tracking and follow-up procedural safeguards can be implemented and have a large impact on potential liability claims.

A reliable test tracking and follow-up system ensures the following steps occur:

  1. The test is performed.
  2. The results are reported to the practice.
  3. The results are made available to the ordering physician for review and sign-off.
  4. The results are communicated to the patient.
  5. The results are properly filed in the patient's chart.
  6. The results are acted upon when necessary.

Here are some suggestions for improving your process:

  • Route all test results to the ordering physician for review. Procedures to ensure the ordering physician receives each and every test result can help lessen the risk of a result "falling through the cracks." Something as simple as a log book or email notification can help facilitate physician review.
  • Ask the ordering physician to review and sign off on each ordered test result. Physicians order lab tests for specific reasons; physicians are encouraged to sign or initial each test result following review.
  • Notify your patients. Several practices notify patients only when there is an abnormal result. Some practices choose to send a letter for normal results and call the patient for abnormal results. Others call patients with all results. In today's technologydriven world, an email may be appropriate for normal results, or an email directing patients to a portal where results can be reviewed. Patient notification of all test results is advised however your practice chooses to do so.

Ensuring all tests ordered by your physicians are handled a consistent manner will help avoid tracking and follow-up errors. Develop a system, which works within the context of your practice, and follow these protocols with every patient - helping to effectively and efficiently stay on top of test results.


1
"PIAA Closed Claims Comparative: A comprehensive analysis of medical professional liability data reported to the PIAA Data Sharing Project," 2015 Edition.
2 Casalino, L.P., et al., "Frequency of Failure to Inform Patients of Clinically Significant Outpatient Test Results." Archives of Internal Medicine 169 (2009): 1123-9.


Attorney Jeremy Wale works as a risk resource advisor for ProAssurance. He has authored numerous articles about mitigating medical professional liability risk and also conducts loss prevention seminars to educate physicians about new and emerging risks. www.ProAssurance.com.




WEB:
ProAssurance

 
Share:

Related Articles:


Recent Articles

Cancer Care on the Cutting Edge

Nashville physician-scientists are helping lead the way in advancing cancer care.

Read More

The Evolution of Senior Living

The senior living industry is undergoing a makeover as baby boomers shift focus from medical-directed care to hospitality-driven services.

Read More

When Basic Science Becomes a Breakthrough

Noted immunologists joined forces at the recent International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference to discuss the importance of fostering and funding basic science.

Read More

Dr. Meredith McKean Brings New Hope, More Options for Melanoma Patients

Oncologist Meredith McKean, MD, MPH, overseeing Sarah Cannon's Melanoma Research Program

Read More

ONcology Rounds

News of note in cancer research, treatment and partnerships.

Read More

Ascension Saint Thomas Opens Cancer Center

Ascension Saint Thomas recently celebrated the grand opening of their comprehensive new cancer center on the Midtown campus.

Read More

NMGMA 10 Minute Takeaway

Medicare Part B representative from Palmetto GBA offered updates and resources to navigate compliance.

Read More

Improving Quality, Lowering Cost of Care for Seniors

Five years into the Medicare Shared Savings Program, more and more ACOs are beginning to demonstrate the ability to improve quality while lowering costs.

Read More

Planning Ahead: Patients & Power of Attorney

The time to think about a durable power of attorney is long before it's needed. Barbara Moss discusses the importance of the document in healthcare.

Read More

Council on Aging Honors Middle Tennesseans

The Council on Aging (COA) of Middle Tennessee hosted their 27th Annual Sage Awards on Oct. 29. With a belief that aging should be celebrated and embraced and that older adults have a lifetime of wisdom and experience to offer communities, the Sage Awards are presented each year to older adults who have made outstanding contributions to Middle Tennessee.

Read More

Email Print
 
 

 

 


Tags:
Diagnostics, Jeremy Wale, Lab Results, Medical Malpractice, Medical Tests, ProAssurance
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: