Approximately 40% of medical patients are discharged with tests pending, and these test results change patient care over one third of the time. Little is known, however, about what types of tests are pending at the time of discharge. Our aim, therefore, was to categorize the types of tests pending at discharge, as well as to describe their time sensitivity and potential clinical impact.
We conducted a cross‐sectional study of tests pending at the time of patient discharge (TPAD) by collecting data from patients discharged from our general medicine service over a 4‐week period. We selected patient charts by evaluating our clinical laboratory database for patients with any test results pending on the day after discharge. A test was pending at discharge if it was ordered and collected but its results were not yet available in our computer systems, We did not identify or include pathology or radiology results pending at discharge in this analysis, We then categorized TPADs into the following groups: body fluids, chemistry, coagulation, endocrinology, hematology, microbiology, rheumatology, toxicology, and urine chemistry. We then rated the TPAD categories on time sensitivity (yes or no) and potential impact on patient care (high and low).
Over 4 weeks, 86 of the 320 patients discharged (26.9%) had at least 1 TPAD. There was a total of 166 TPADs generated (mean number of TPADS per patient = 1.93). The most common types of TPADs were microbiology (86.2%), toxicology (3.6%), and urine chemistry (2.7%). Of the 9 TPAD categories, 5 (chemisUy, coagulation, hematology, microbiology, toxicology) were rated as being time sensitive and having a potentially high degree of impact on patient care. The remaining categories of TPADs were rated as not being time sensitive and having a low degree of impact on patient care.
Our data suggest that TPAD management systems might first focus on accurate and timely follow‐up of microbiology TPADs, as microbiology TPADS represented the most commonly occurring TPADs, and these TPADs are both time sensitive and have a high degree of potential impact to patient care.
C. Coffey, Jr., none; S. Ranji, none; A. Auerbach, none; A. Vidyarthi, none.
To cite this abstract:Coffey C, Ranji S, Auerbach A, Vidyarthi A. What's Out There? Characterizing Tests Pending at Discharge. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2010, April 8-11, Washington, D.C. Abstract 40. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2010; 5 (suppl 1). https://www.shmabstracts.com/abstract/whats-out-there-characterizing-tests-pending-at-discharge/. Accessed May 22, 2019.