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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article
Study

Patient safety concerns arising from test results that return after hospital discharge.

Roy CL, Poon EG, Karson AS, et al. Annals of internal medicine. 2005;143:121-8.

This study followed more than 2600 discharged patients from two hospitalist services to capture the number and types of test results that required intervention. Investigators discovered that nearly 40% of patients enrolled had a pending lab or radiology test with 9% requiring action. Discussion also includes survey findings from inpatient providers, which demonstrated poor awareness of pending studies and general dissatisfaction with current systems to manage test follow-up. The authors conclude that future efforts to reduce these preventable errors in discharge follow-up require improved systems for retrieving tests after discharge and better communication between inpatient and outpatient providers.