30 to 40% of tests pending at discharge return potentially actionable results that often remain unknown to physicians. Check out six strategies to take action on TPADs from Keith Olenik, VP Revenue Cycle Services:
1. Create a critical results policy. Organizations need to work with their lab directors and their physicians to create a list and document it into a policy stating which lab results are higher priority versus lower priority.
2. Discuss provider responsibilities. Who is going to follow up on that lab result when we have transitions of care? How does that physician’s name get attached to the results so we know they are the one responsible for following up with the patient? Have a clearly defined policy.
3. Educate providers on making updates to the documentation. We need to make sure the providers are completing the documents correctly. If there are updates that need to be applied, notifications need to be sent to explain why the revision happened.
4. Research the available technology that can assist in the notification process. Does the provider get a list of things that are outstanding at discharge when they’re doing their discharge summary?
5. Lay out the expectations for patient communication. Patients have the right to know when their test results have come back and what steps need to be taken. They need to have a clear process on how they communicate with the provider responsible for sharing their test results.
6. Define all of the people who can potentially be involved in the process. There are numerous people from the physicians to HIM to CDI, that can be involved. It does not solely rest upon the physician. It is important to define those roles and make sure everyone participates together.
For more information about preventing delayed test results, check out Keith’s recommendations at the federal and organizational level in episode 2 of “Get to the Point.”