Results protocol – bloods, pathology, x-rays and scans

Practice Leads

  • Doctors: Sudhir Krishnan
  • Nurse: Maureen Baildon (HCA)

Date Reviewed

6th July 2016

Date of Next Review

September 2017

Whenever a doctor orders a test, it is usually done by the nurse or health care assistant.  That sample then goes off to our laboratories, usually based at Bradford Royal Infirmary (and sometimes other places like Eccleshill Treatment Centre).  Most blood, urine and faecal (poo) tests are usually back within two weeks.  Other tests can take longer.    The Practice has an electronic link with the pathology labs through which any requested pathology test results is sent back to us.  The test results being sent should identify the specific Practice Doctor through a pre-identified bar code which means that the results are returned back to that specific Doctor’s ‘inbox'.   If patients ring for their results within 2 weeks of a test being done - please advise them to ring AFTER this time - otherwise, it causes unnecessary work which often yields no results.

How results will be reported

Abnormal results will be reported on by the doctor using the SystmOne tasks system.  If a test result is normal and requires no further action, it will be 'filed'.  However, Admin staff will be able to see the 'normal' result filed within the patient's record should they ring up and enquire.

Some results will be abnormal and require specific action.   For these sorts of results, the doctor will send an 'action task' to the 'Admin Results' group within SystmOne before filing the result.  The action might be...

  • To make appointment with Doctor
  • To make appointment with Nurse
  • Re-refer to new test or different test etc.

The admin member of staff will then contact the patient to implement this requested action.  This process means that the practice takes pro-active action in contacting all patients who have ended up with an abnormal result, whilst implementing the requested doctor's actions without the need for all patients to see the doctor again (and hence use up valuable doctor consultation time).

Results that have been rejected

  • Maureen Baildon, Health Care Assistant, will check the pathology list and assign any results that have been rejected.

When a doctor is on annual leave

  • Maureen Baildon, Health Care Assistant, will also transfer any results for doctors who are on annual leave.

When a patient rings for a test result

If the result is not back

  • Determine whether it has been 2 weeks since the test was done.
  • If it less than 2 weeks,  explain to the patient that results usually take 2 weeks to come back and therefore to ring again after this time.
  • If it has been more than 2 weeks, explain to the patient that the result is not back from the labs.   Apologise for the delay and that you will personally chase this up and get back to them within 24-48 hours.   Ring the lab and chase the result.  Once you've managed to get the result back, show it to a doctor (preferably the requesting doctor or the on-call doc) to get a professional interpretation of the result and what to say to the patient.  Then, ring the patient back.
  • Do not put any of these down for a telephone consultation/call with the requesting doctor nor the emergency on call doctor.  Sort the problem out yourself first.

If the result is back AND has been reported on by a doctor 

  • Give the test result - try and use the words the doctor has written.
  • If the interpretation is not clear - ask one of the doctors for advice (rather than risk giving the patient the wrong information)
  • Ask the patient if there were any other tests that were done

If the result is back BUT has not been reported on 

  • If it is less than 2 weeks since the test was done, advise the patient that the test is back but that the doctor will be shortly going through them.   Advise them to ring back after 2 weeks from the date of the test has elapsed and explain that this should give the doctor some time to report back on them.
  • If it is more than 2 weeks since the test was done, apologise for the result not being reported on.   Explain to them that you will chase it up and get a doctor to take a look within 24h and that you will personally get back in touch with them.
  • Get in touch with the doctor who is meant to have reported on the result - ask them for an interpretation.  You can send a SystmOne Task to do this, although it is probably much easier and quicker to ask the doctor in person when they are at their computer screen.   Alternatively, put it down as an extra on that doctor's surgery screen if working that day with a patient telephone number for urgent on the day action.   As a last resort, you may need to put it down for the emergency doctor's list.
  • Get the doctor to comment and 'file' the report within SystmOne.
  • Then call the patient back and explain the result in layman's terms.