Ask HRC: Notifying Patients' Physicians of Radiology Test Results

July 16, 2007 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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A Healthcare Risk Control (HRC) System member wrote to us regarding the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) Radiology, asking us to clarify and explain the risk management rationale behind a question. The question, 12.1.i, asks whether all departmental as well as physician policy and procedure manuals are evaluated and updated at least annually, and whether the manuals include a policy and procedure for written communication of mammogram results directly to patients, as well as to referring healthcare providers, within 30 days.

Having a policy and procedure in place to notify a patient’s physician of radiology test results showing a finding that suspicious for malignancy is a good risk management practice that should not conflict with a patient’s right to be timely informed of test results, or to have his/her medical information upon request. The SAQ question is not meant to imply that medical information should be withheld from the patient...

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