Ask HRC: Must a Physician Review Normal Test Results?

March 7, 2016 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​A Healthcare Risk Control (HRC) member, already familiar with ECRI guidance on Test Tracking and Follow-Up, recently inquired on behalf of a physician colleague about the practice of having a nonphysician perform the initial review of test results and filing normal test results in patient records without review by the ordering physician.

It is generally agreed that the initial review of test results should determine which findings are normal and which findings are abnormal. However, sometimes a "normal" lab test result can be considered "abnormal" to the ordering physician based on the patient's past values or current clinical condition. One way of possibly mitigating risk in communication of normal results is to develop policies and procedures related to test tracking and...

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