Table 3. Reported Method of Communicating Normal/Clinically Insignificant Abnormal and Abnormal Laboratory Results to Patients, by Electronic Health Record (EHR)– versus Non-EHR-Enabled Practices*
Method of Communicating ResultsPractices That Always/Often Use Method, n (%)
Practices With EHRPractices Without EHR
Normal and clinically insignificant abnormal results
    Personal call from clinician104 (41)36 (32)
    Medical assistant/nurse phone call to patient137 (54)36 (32)
    Patient instructed to call54 (22)25 (23)
    Patient to assume test is normal if not notified68 (27)30 (28)
    Send personal note68 (27)19 (17)
    Send form letter to patient117 (46)47 (42)
    Mail copy of test results108 (42)39 (35)
    Results available on secure website for patients to access28 (11)30 (27)
    Results emailed to patients9 (4)6 (6)
    Results available on automated phone-in system2 (<1)0 (0)
    Results available during patient visit139 (56)55 (50)
    Laboratory center directly notifies patient5 (2)0 (0)
Clinically significant abnormal results
    Personal call from clinician204 (81)83 (75)
    Medical assistant/nurse phone call to patient136 (54)33 (30)
    Patient instructed to call48 (20)19 (18)
    Send personal note39 (16)10 (9)
    Results available on secure website for patients to access22 (9)25 (24)
    Results emailed to patients8 (3)7 (7)
    Results available on automated phone-in system5 (2)0 (0)
    Send form letter to patient55 (23)26 (24)
    Mail copy of test results71 (29)31 (29)
    Results available during patient visit110 (46)50 (46)
    Laboratory center directly notifies patient6 (3)1 (<1)
  • Bold indicates significant different between clinicians and staff and managers.

  • * Analysis was confined to responses from the 17 practices with an internal response rate of at least 70%, by role.

  • Row percentage for each notification method could be <100% because not every respondent selected each method.

  • Respondents to the survey (clinicians, staff, and managers) were able to select all notification methods that apply to their practice; therefore, percentages may be >100%.