AHRQ Commentary: IT Solutions Can Improve Follow-Up of Critical Laboratory Tests

August 8, 2012 | Risk Management News

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A well-designed, automated results management system combined with clinical workflow changes can improve laboratory test result follow-up, states the author of a commentary from the August 2012 edition of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) online case study review, WebM&M. In the spotlight case, a 10-year-old girl with a history of asthma was brought by her mother to see a pediatrician because the girl lost 15 pounds during three months. An examination of the girl proved unremarkable, so the physician ordered basic lab tests. Several days later, the physician reviewed the blood test results at the mother’s request and was shocked to learn that the girl’s blood glucose levels were dangerously elevated. The girl returned to the office for treatment without experiencing any long-term consequences. According to the commentary’s author, the case illustrates how inadequate follow-up of laboratory test results could lead to patient harm.

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