These are the thoughts of a cantankerous ol' gynecologist who remembers when things were a little different. I try to find a little humor in my life and the people I meet along the way. Come meet the characters in my world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Medical Test Results

How will the office notify you?

When you went for your recent doctor’s visit, did you have some lab work?  Were you scheduled for some X-rays or other testing?  Did they send off a biopsy, a urine test or a pap smear?

You now have the dreaded dilemma: HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET THE RESULTS?????  Secondary question:  WHEN WILL THE RESULTS BE BACK?

Every medical office is different.  It is IMPORTANT to know the answer to this question BEFORE you leave the office.  If you are the forgetful type, get the answer in writing.

There are several options.

1.     If everything is OK, you won’t hear anything.  This is not my favorite, as you can miss a phone call, and the bad results will be sitting around somewhere.

2.     Call us in a certain amount of time.  This leaves YOU with the responsibility of following up and calling the office for results. 

3.     Office will send you a letter in a certain amount of time.  If the results are not normal, the letter is not the best way in my opinion.  However, if you are hard to reach, I have resorted to this.

4.     Office will call for results.  This is what I do in my office.  We don’t have a huge amount of lab work, so this is not labor intensive for us.  We agree ahead of time where to call the patient and what message to leave.  Our two not very specific messages are: “Lab work was normal” or “please call the office”.  Please call does not mean you have cancer, it just means we need to speak with you.

5.     E-mail or text- this is new fangled stuff, and I am still adjusting.  We leave the same messages as #4.  Remember, I am a self professed dinosaur. 

I always discuss with my patients how they want to be notified and when I expect results to be returned.  I think it keeps everyone from worrying about lab results. 

I hope this helps.  Don’t forget to ask.

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