Physicians frequently fail to tell patients about abnormal laboratory findings. That is the conclusion of a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers reviewed medical records of over 5,000 patients in 23 different medical practices. The investigators discovered more than 1,800 abnormal test results. Of these, 135 patients had never been told about them. That means one out of 14 patients with abnormal results did not hear about them.

This could easily have an impact on early detection of disease or treatment of potentially serious conditions. Unfortunately, this study suggests that patients can not assume that no news is good news.

[Archives of Internal Medicine, June 22, 2009]

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