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GP test result confusion puts patients at risk

Patients are being put at risk because GPs wrongly assume they will actively seek their test results, a study says.

Researchers from the University of Bristol said the mismatched expectations could harm patients, with delayed diagnosis a likely result.

The study found: “Doctors expected patients to know how to access their test results. In contrast, patients were often uncertain and used guesswork to decide when and how to access their tests. Patients and doctors generally assumed that the other party would make contact, with potential implications for patient safety.”

Dr Jessica Watson, a GP and doctoral research fellow at the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the university, who led the study, said: “GPs have a medico-legal and ethical responsibility to ensure they have clear, robust systems for communicating test results.” 

Watson added: “Relying on patients to get in contact and making assumptions about their knowledge of how to do so were particular risks highlighted.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Times, 12 July 2022


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