Medical testing is a relay race between people doing their part in the New York City metro area. Every step of medical testing creates the possibility of an error. Medical testing should happen after a physical exam and complete history. Medical testing helps with proper diagnosis when quickly reported to healthcare professionals. There are many opportunities for errors during medical testing, and people should understand how to protect themselves.
Closing the loop on test results
Healthcare professionals can’t treat a condition no one knows the patient has. The services and organizations that serve healthcare professionals can fail to follow up on test results. Closing the loop is when the tests are correctly completed and reported to the right people. To avoid healthcare fraud by “dirty doctors”, join the patient portal. Most primary care practices offer patient portals so people can log in to see and download test results. Patients should write down the ordered tests and answers to crucial. After a doctor gives their diagnosis, a patient can close the loop by following up a few days later.
Understanding test results and how to protect yourself
Healthcare professionals usually order tests when they think the tests will find a diagnosis. There are many types of testing, but urine and blood tests may return multiple results. There aren’t many tests that have yes or no results. The patient can request a full report from the lab or ask healthcare staff how to get it. Patients should read the medical testing report to understand the findings. Talk with healthcare professionals about the results of the tests.
Inaccurate test results and how to protect yourself
A false positive has a patient treated for something they don’t have, and a false negative leaves a patient’s medical condition untreated. Pre-analytical mistakes make up about 46% to 68% of lab errors and can include mixing up names, ordering wrong tests and mishandling samples. Analytical mistakes are difficult to measure. The tests are foolproof only if the testers follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Post-analytic mistakes are usually from communication or medical practice errors.
Patients should double-check that their paperwork, including their name and birthday, is correct. Make sure the lab is doing the tests requested. A patient should pay attention to symptoms and advocate for themselves. There’s information online about symptoms for when a doctor dismisses the claims. Before any surgery from a test result, get a second opinion to check for false positives. The patient can ask radiologists to review any scans.