Ask ECRI: Who Can Inform Patients of Their Lab Results?
July 11, 2022 | Ambulatory Care Risk Management
A member recently asked us if anyone can call patients to inform them of their lab or diagnostic results, or if it has to be a licensed healthcare professional. In our response we stress that providers are ultimately responsible for reviewing and following up on the results of tests they order. That responsibility typically includes ensuring that results requiring patient involvement or action are communicated to patients.
There are a few factors to consider when determining the best method of test result reporting to patients. If the result is critical, direct communication to the patient is best performed immediately by the ordering provider or a surrogate provider should the ordering provider not be readily available. Abnormal results are also best communicated by the ordering provider, as they typically require follow-up by the patient or additional action on behalf of the ordering provider. However, if state scope of practice laws (as well as the organization's policies and procedures) allow for it, ordering providers may request that another licensed or certified staff member contact the patient with results in a timely manner. Ultimately, it is the ordering provider who will be...