A new study, published in an Australian Medical Journal, has found that more than one-third of all hospital patients are discharged before tests that have been ordered by physicians have been performed. In many other cases, the results of tests that had been performed were never read by physicians. Sadly, in one of seven of those instances, the tests that were ordered and not performed may have revealed abnormalities.
Physicians note that patients should be aware of what tests have been ordered so that they can discuss them with their care providers prior to being discharged. The Australian study reviewed the medical records of 6,700 patients. Some of the tests missed were routine and were not seen as pressing. In other cases, the ordered test had been performed, but the results had not been reviewed. Of these cases, the results still had not been reviewed more than two months later, this according to an article in the archives of Internal Medicine.