Critical Results
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Effectively communicating critical results

A critical laboratory result is one that has been identified as representing a potentially dangerous or life threatening state in which immediate medical action is necessary.  All critical test results are immediately communicated to the attending physician or appropriate clinical personnel responsible for that patient’s care.

Every effort will be made to reach the most responsible physician.  In the event that the physician is unavailable to receive the result, the Laboratory Medical Director will be notified in order to take the next steps to ensure that the patient receives the proper care in a timely manner.

Inpatient critical results

The Laboratory Technologist will:

  • Notify the nursing staff on the patient’s unit to relay the result to the ordering physician.
  • Indicate that this is a critical value and that the physician must be notified immediately.
  • Document all actions and ask that the information be read back by the person receiving it to confirm accuracy of the communication.

Outpatient critical results

During regular office hours the Laboratory Technologist will:

  • Call the physician’s office during their regular working hours.
  • If the physician is not available, the result will be given to the office RN.
  • Indicate that this is a critical value and that the physician must be notified immediately.
  • Document all actions and ask for read back to ensure information was communicated accurately.

After hours, on weekends or statutory holidays

If the patient has been discharged or is an outpatient, the lab staff at the testing site will call the ordering physician’s on-call number.

 

MoH     PCQO