The CBS Evening News (6/22, story 8, 2:00, Couric) reported that “no one wants to hear bad news from their doctor, but a” new “report…says keeping patients in the dark about abnormal test results is happening with much more frequency.”
NBC Nightly News (6/22, story 4, 2:30, Williams) reported that the study suggests “that one out of every 14 times doctors fail to share abnormal test results with their patients.”
The New York Times reports that investigators “reviewed the records of 5,434 patients at 19 independent primary care practices and four based in academic medical centers.” The researchers “extracted records that contained abnormal results for blood tests or X-rays and other imaging studies, and then searched for documentation that the patient had been properly informed of the problem in a timely way.” According to the Times, “after accounting for” several “ambiguous cases, the researchers found that of 1,889 abnormal results, there were 135 failures to inform.”
The AP reported that the study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that “few medical practices had explicit methods for how to tell patients, leaving each doctor to come up with a system.”
HealthDay reported that while “the study found no difference in failure rates between facilities that relied exclusively on paper records and those that used only electronic filings, medical practices that used a hybrid of paper and electronic record-keeping had the highest failure rates.”
From the American Association for Justice news release.