The Most Efficient and Effective Methods of Getting New Results to Patients - a Survey

Presentation Number: SH04-10
Date of Presentation: April 3rd, 2017

Sky Denniston Graybill*, Joseph Kluesner, Mark Windell True, Irene Folaron, Joshua Mark Tate, Jeffrey Adam Colburn, Darrick James Beckman and Jana Wardian
San Antonio Military Medical Center, San Antonio, TX


Patient safety, customer satisfaction and access to care compete for clinician’s time and attention. New results from thyroid nodule biopsies, laboratory tests and radiology studies are constantly available; it is imperative to have a resource-conscious method of effectively communicating these results and need for interventions to patients.

We conducted a survey in our endocrinology clinic to assess patient and medical staff opinions about methods of communication to include: online review by patients, mailed letter, medical technician call, nurse call, physician call and face-to-face visit. We asked about results that would lead to a variety of common scenarios: no change in plans, medication dose change, new medications, additional testing, repeat biopsy, surgery or diagnosis of cancer. Respondents could choose whether each method was acceptable, not acceptable or optimal.

There were 65/100 patients and 12/16 staff who completed the survey. Patients generally felt that letters were acceptable for normal results (48/58) but did not favor reviewing them online. Staff favored a letter (10/12) or online review (11/12) for normal results; many thought it was not acceptable for physicians calls in this setting (7/12). Most patients felt a medical technician call was acceptable for normal results (46/53), change in medication doses (36/49) or need for additional studies (36/51); staff agreed. Patients and staff felt a nurse call was acceptable in most scenarios, except for new a diagnosis of cancer or need for surgery, which should include the physician. Patients usually preferred physician calls over returning visits; they deemed return visits were not acceptable 11.7% of the time especially for normal results.

This survey suggests physicians should take the time to discuss results with patients that lead to more significant interventions like repeat biopsy, need for surgery and new diagnoses of cancer. However, they can work with support staff to disseminate other news. This would improve customer satisfaction, save time and be more cost effective.

The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of San Antonio Military Medical Center, the U.S. Army Medical Department, the U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.


Nothing to Disclose: SDG, JK, MWT, IF, JMT, JAC, DJB, JW