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Vital Signs

The Healthcare Business Blog

AHRQ tool kit designed to help primary-care docs manage medical testing

By Maureen McKinney

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a tool kit designed to help physician practices and other ambulatory-care settings improve the way they order medical tests, track results and conduct follow-up with patients.

Roughly 40% of primary-care patient encounters involve medical testing of some kind, and the processes in place for managing those tests are a “significant source of error and patient harm,” AHRQ said, citing research on primary-care safety.

The tool kit includes a questionnaire physicians can use to identify the different types of test-related data captured by their electronic health records, such as outstanding test orders, abnormal test results and the time it took to notify patients. Such information can assist practices in configuring their EHRs to improve safety, AHRQ said.

Other components include a handout for patients, a patient engagement survey and a survey tool for assessing testing processes.

Follow Maureen McKinney on Twitter: @MHMMcKinney

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