TUESDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- As many as 75 percent of
hospital tests are not followed up and this failure can have
serious consequences for patients, including delayed or missed
diagnoses and even death, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed 12 international studies and found that
between 20 percent and 61 percent of inpatient test results, and
between 1 percent and 75 percent of tests on emergency care
patients, were not followed up after patients were discharged.
Follow-up was least likely for critical test results and results
for patients moving between health care settings, such as from
inpatient to outpatient care or to general practice.
Rates of missed results were equally high for paper-based
records systems, fully electronic systems and those that used a
combination of paper and electronic records.
The study is published Feb. 8 in the journal
BMJ Quality and Safety.
"There is evidence to suggest that the proportion of missed test results is a substantial problem, which impacts on patients' safety," the researchers concluded in a journal news release.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers
tips about medical tests.