Saturday, August 6, 2016

No News Is No News

FLASHBACK SERIES: Blog posts written during my medical school days at Pacific Northwest University - College of Osteopathic Medicine

by Kim Ha Wadsworth, OMS III

When it comes to health care, don't assume that "no news is good news."

One of my preceptors told me that he learned early on in his medical career that "no news is no news." He has seen abnormal lab results or imaging studies get overlooked and filed without the primary physician's review. This may delay diagnosis of a disease that requires prompt attention. He tells his patients, "if you don't hear from my office, make sure you call us to check on your results."

Best practices suggest reporting normal medical test results by phone, e-mail, online access to the patient's own medical record, or even by postal mail. However, physicians may need to interpret and explain to patients what the results mean—especially if the results are complicated or bad news. In such cases, a follow-up appointment should be scheduled to review the test results in person.

This is yet another reason that patients should be their own health care advocate, playing an active role in shared medical decision-making in collaboration with their doctors.

Here are links to some interesting articles on