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Episode 079: Communication of blood test results to patients is often complex and confusing

In this episode we talk to Dr Jessica Watson who is a GP and NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer, Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol.

Paper: ‘I guess I’ll wait to hear’: a qualitative study of communication of blood test results in primary care

https://doi.org/10.3399/BJGP.2022.0069

Previous studies have shown that failure to communicate or action blood tests can lead to patient harms, with delay in diagnosis being the commonest cause of malpractice claims in primary care worldwide. This study found that systems of test result communication vary between doctors and are often based on habits, unwritten heuristics, and personal preferences rather than protocols. Doctors generally expect that patients know how to access their test results, and assume that patients will proactively seek out their test results, with implications for patient safety. Practices have an ethical and medicolegal obligation to ensure they have robust systems for test communication.

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