Sunday, June 28, 2009

No news is bad news

This kind of thing is something that makes public health specialists pull their hair out — and then write papers:
"No news is good news" is what most patients assume when they're waiting to receive test results. But "no news" actually meant "bad news" for one out of 14 patients with troubling labs, according to a study published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine. [snip]

The patients had received common blood and screening tests, including mammograms, pap tests, cholesterol tests and red blood cell counts. Almost 35% of the patients had abnormal results that fell well outside the normal range. But in 7.1% of those cases, practices did not inform -- or document that they had informed -- the patients.
That's a very serious problem for a lot of people. And I doubt the situation is much better — and possibly worse — in Korea, where patients are often expected to do their own follow-up check. 

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