At Hospital Discharge — Emailing Providers Increases Awareness of Pending Test Results

Many patients have pending test results at the time of hospital discharge, and lack of appropriate follow-up on those results may pose a risk to a patient’s safety, according to a new study funded by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ). Hospitals that automatically emailed physicians test results when they became available increased provider awareness of actionable test results, according to the research appearing Oct. 23, 2013 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. According to the journal article, healthcare providers who received the emails were significantly more likely to be aware of abnormal test results, suggesting that widespread use of such notifications could improve patient safety. The study examined the impact of automatically emailing test results that were pending at the time of discharge to both the hospital attending physician and the patient’s primary care provider.