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Closing the loop on test results to reduce communication failures: a rapid review of evidence, practice and patient perspectives

Authors
  • Wright, Breanna1
  • Lennox, Alyse1
  • Graber, Mark L.2
  • Bragge, Peter1
  • 1 Monash University, Clayton Campus, 8 Scenic Boulevard, Clayton, VIC, 3800, Australia , Clayton (Australia)
  • 2 Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM), New York, NY, USA , New York (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
BMC Health Services Research
Publisher
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Sep 23, 2020
Volume
20
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s12913-020-05737-x
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

BackgroundCommunication failures involving test results contribute to issues of patient harm and sentinel events. This article aims to synthesise review evidence, practice insights and patient perspectives addressing problems encountered in the communication of diagnostic test results.MethodsThe rapid review identified ten systematic reviews and four narrative reviews. Five practitioner interviews identified insights into interventions and implementation, and a citizen panel with 15 participants explored the patient viewpoint.ResultsThe rapid review provided support for the role of technology to ensure effective communication; behavioural interventions such as audit and feedback could be effective in changing clinician behaviour; and point-of-care tests (bedside testing) eliminate the communication breakdown problem altogether. The practice interviews highlighted transparency, and clarifying the lines of responsibility as central to improving test result communication. Enabling better information sharing, implementing adequate planning and utilising technology were also identified in the practice interviews as viable strategies to improve test result communication. The citizen panel highlighted technology as critical to improving communication of test results to both health professionals and patients. Patients also highlighted the importance of having different ways of accessing test results, which is particularly pertinent when ensuring suitability for vulnerable populations.ConclusionsThis paper draws together multiple perspectives on the problem of failures in diagnostic test results communication to inform appropriate interventions. Across the three studies, technology was identified as the most feasible option for closing the loop on test result communication. However, the importance of clear, consistent communication and more streamlined processes were also key elements that emerged.Review registrationThe protocol for the rapid review was registered with PROSPERO CRD42018093316.

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