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Doctors Offices Sometimes Fail To Inform You of Negative Lab Tests

Posted Aug 13 2009 6:26pm

ABC News Special Report ident, circa 2006
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I typically get lab tests done and then soon have a doctor’s appointment right afterwards. Sometimes, however, it can take a few days for the final results to come in. Usually, if I don’t hear from the doctor promptly, I’m not worried. No news is almost always good news.

However, according to a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, doctors’ staff sometimes fail to inform patients of abnormal test results.

In fact, the researchers found that 7 percent of the time primary-care doctors delayed or failed to deliver such news to patients.

While many doctors believe that patients should assume that “no news is good news,” the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says that even this 7 percent is poor patient care.

The organization offers these quick tips when getting medical tests. If you’re having a medical test, ask your doctor when you should expect to receive your tests results. If you’re not contacted within the specified time frame, call the office. Remember, it’s your health.

The news was reported by ABC News, the NYTimes and MedPage Today.

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