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Editor's Correspondence
October 26, 2009

Informatics Aids to Reduce Failure Rates in Notification of Abnormal Outpatient Test Results

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2009 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2009

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(19):1806-1818. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.367

The health care context is characterized by a high degree of complexity, involving a kaleidoscope of medical disciplines. Although medical errors are traditionally deemed as incorrect diagnoses, as mishandled clinical procedures, or, globally, as results of inappropriate clinical decision making, diagnostic errors are a frequent occurrence, which may have an impact on patient's care and ultimately jeopardize patient's safety.1 Wrong, missed, or delayed diagnoses can result from a variety of causes, including failure to order an appropriate diagnostic test, identification errors, tests performed on unsuitable specimens, release of results despite a poor performance of quality controls, delayed notification of critical values, and incorrect interpretation of test results.1

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