Hospitals Often Fail To Follow Up On Tests


As many as 75 percent of hospital tests are not followed up and this failure can have serious consequences for patients, including delayed or missed diagnoses and even death, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed 12 international studies and found that between 20 percent and 61 percent of inpatient test results, and between 1 percent and 75 percent of tests on emergency care patients, were not followed up after patients were discharged.

Follow-up was least likely for critical test results and results for patients moving between health care settings, such as from inpatient to outpatient care or to general practice.

Rates of missed results were equally high for paper-based records systems, fully electronic systems and those that used a combination of paper and electronic records.

The study is published Feb. 8 in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety.

“There is evidence to suggest that the proportion of missed test results is a substantial problem, which impacts on patients’ safety,” the researchers concluded in a journal news release.

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(Source: HealthFinder)


  1. An “international” study, eh?? Well in which countries did they not follow up? Ill bet USA was low on that one and the countries with socialized medicine, government healthcare, or whatever sweetheart liberal word you want to use, had the higher numbers!

  2. Mark – They don’t follow up here either. Once they leave the hospital, they aren’t the hospital’s responsibility.
    We in the medical field don’t have the time to follow up and don’t get enough money to work even more hours.
    This has nothing to do with socialized medicine. That just even further lowers the quality of care. We don’t produce enough doctors, PA’s and NP’s, and we don’t pay them enough. If you haven’t noticed, hospitals are businesses, not run by the medical staff. I believe that people who work in medicine deserve a salary compared to some ball player. And I don’t mean some guy in the minors.
    The best MVP in the world, his job isn’t as important as someone who saves lives.