FACTS AND STATS
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, has found that electronically alerting doctors of suspicious test results doesn't mean doctors will a) open the electronically delivered alert or b) act on it if they do.
And though you'd think that alerting more than one physician would reduce the chances that a patient would slip through the cracks, the study found just the opposite: Suspicious test results were less likely to be acted on, not more, presumably because each physician assumed the other doctor had taken the necessary steps.
The study, by Dr. Hardeep Singh of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston and co-workers, was conducted in a Veterans Affairs outpatient facility from November 2007 to June 2008. The VA has a fairly sophisticated electronic medical records system. The study focused on reports of imaging exams - CT scans, MRIs, mammograms, sonograms and radiograms. The study doesn't say how this electronic system compares to the traditional one due to lack of comparative data.
Source: Timely Follow-up of Abnormal Diagnostic Imaging
Test Results in an Outpatient Setting
Date: September 28, 2009
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