Physicians Often Fail to Inform Patients of Abnormal Test Results
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that physicians frequently fail to report abnormal test results to patients. The study included 5,434 patients, ages 50 to 69, from 23 primary care practices in the Midwest and on the West Coast. Researchers looked at various tests such as cholesterol blood work, mammograms, Pap smears, and screening tests for colon cancer. The results proved that only 1 out of 14 abnormal test results were reported to patients.
“Failure to report abnormal test results can lead to serious even lethal consequences for the patient,” said Dr. Lawrence Casalino, the leader of the study, and chief of the Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research at Weill Cornell Medical College. “If you’ve had tests, whether it be a blood test, or some kind of X-ray, or ultrasound, don’t assume because you haven’t heard from your physician that the result is normal.”
Failing to inform patients can lead to malpractice lawsuits and increased medical costs, researchers said. Thus according to researchers, patients should make a conscience effort to follow up with their physicians after having tests performed.
For more information see: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090622163031.htm