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Patient groups, clinicians and healthcare professionals agree - all test results need to be seen, understood and followed up


Dahm, MR and Georgiou, A and Herkes, R and Brown, A and Li, J and Lindeman, R and Horvath, AR and Jones, G and Legg, M and Li, Ling and Greenfield, D and Westbrook, JI, Patient groups, clinicians and healthcare professionals agree - all test results need to be seen, understood and followed up, Diagnosis, 5, (4) pp. 215-222. ISSN 2194-8011 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH

DOI: doi:10.1515/dx-2018-0083


Background: Diagnostic testing provides integral information for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of disease. Inadequate test result reporting and follow-up is a major risk to patient safety. Factors contributing to failure to follow-up test results include unclear delineation of responsibility about who is meant to act on a test result; poor coordination across different levels of care; and the absence of integrated health information systems for the efficient information communication.

Methods: A 2016 Australian Stakeholder Forum brought together over 30 representatives from 14 different consumer, clinical and management stakeholder organisations to discuss safe and effective test result communication, management and follow-up. Thematic analysis was conducted drawing on multimodal data collected in the form of observational fieldnotes and document artefacts produced by participants.

Results: The forum identified major challenges which pose immediate risks to patient safety. Participants recommended priorities for addressing issues relating to: (i) the governance of test result management processes; (ii) integration of health care processes through the utilisation of effective digital health solutions; and (iii) involving patients as key partners in the decision-making and care process.

Conclusions: Stakeholder groups diverged slightly in their priorities. Consumers highlighted the lack of patient involvement in the test result management process but were less concerned about standardisation of reports and critical result thresholds than pathologists. The forum foregrounded the need for a systems approach, capable of identifying and addressing interconnections and multiple factors that contribute to poor test result follow-up, with a strong emphasis on enhancing the contribution of patients.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:diagnostic error, pathology, patient safety, test result follow-up
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health care administration
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Greenfield, D (Professor David Greenfield)
ID Code:128869
Year Published:2018
Funding Support:National Health and Medical Research Council (APP1111925)
Web of Science® Times Cited:9
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2018-10-19
Last Modified:2019-01-07

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