Jump to Navigation

Medical Tests Often Not Checked When Ordered on Discharge Day

Photo of Armand Leone

Medical tests ordered on the day of hospital discharge have a high risk of not being followed up on by the ordering physician, reports Mei-Sing Ong, PhD in a research letter in the Archives of Internal Medicine on August 13th. Of 662,858 tests ordered for 6736 patients during their hospitalization, 3.1% of test results did not get reviewed before discharge. Two months later, half of those were still not reviewed. More than one-third of patients had at least one test result that was not reviewed prior to discharge. Most of the test results that went unreviewed were ordered on the day of discharge.

Twenty-one percent (21%) of results of medical tests ordered on the day of discharge were not looked at by a physician prior to discharge, compared with a 2% of failure rate for checking results on other days. This accounted for half of all unreviewed test results. Of the unreviewed tests, 14.7% had an abnormal result at the time of discharge, and 10.8% of the tests still unreviewed at 2 month had abnormal results. One explanation is that once the decision has been made to discharge a patient, tests ordered on discharge day are unlikely to change that decision, causing physicians to be less interested in following up.

The researchers recommend discharge policies that require computer alerts to be sent to physicians when ordering tests on discharge days asking them if they are medically indicated and to alert them afterwards when the results are available. Not only do discharge day orders waste money, but failing to follow up on medical testing is medical malpractice. If important information about an antibiotic treatment or bleeding times for coumadin are not followed up on, patients can suffer serious harm once they leave the hospital. Patients need to be aware of any tests done on their discharge date and to make sure that their physicians check the results. If it is worth the patients money to have the test done, it is worth a minute of the physician's time to look at it.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

"The mission of Britcher Leone, LLC is to unite the professional disciplines of medicine and law to help the victims of physicians' malpractice and serious personal injury restore their future and the future of their families." RSS FindLaw Network
Verdicts & Settlements
  • $1,237,004 Verdict for Failure to Properly Treat
  • $42 Million Dollar Vaccine Injury Structured Settlement
  • $5.7 Million Obstetrical Malpractice Structured Settlement
  • $3.8 Million Present Value Pediatric Urological Surgery Settlement
  • $3.38 Million Gross Medical Malpractice Verdict
  • $1.65 Million Present Value Spinal Surgery Settlement
  • $5.2 Million Obstetrical Malpractice Structured Settlement
  • $40 Million Vaccine Structured Award
  • $19 Million Vaccine Structured Award
  • $2.5 Million Failure to Timely Diagnose Breast Cancer Verdict
  • $16 Million Obstetrical Malpractice Structured Settlement
  • $13.6 Million Obstetrical Malpractice Structured Settlement
  • $3.5 Million Resort Negligence Settlement
  • $60 Million Flu Vaccine Structured Settlement
  • $2 Million Wrongful Birth/Wrongful Life Settlement
  • $3.5 Million Present Value Wrongful Death Settlement
  • $1.59 Million Medical Malpractice Judgment
  • $800,000 Recovery Failure to Treat Eye Infection and Vision Loss
  • $1.35 Million Wrongful Death Settlement
  • $1.2 Million Failure to Provide Adequate Security Settlement
  • $850,000 Settlement for Brachial Plexus/Shoulder Dystocia Injury
  • $1 Million Podiatric Malpractice Judgment
  • $863,000 Orthopedic Malpractice Judgment
  • $850,000 Radiology Malpractice Settlement
  • $800,000 Cardiology Malpractice/Wrongful Death Settlement
View All Verdicts
Google+ LinkedIn Uniting Medicine & Law | Rebuilding Your Future