(1) A physician who orders a diagnostic test or makes a referral to another health professional must:

(a) ensure that specific arrangements are in place where the member can receive communication respecting critical test results.

(b) have a system in place to track and ensure that a referral letter has been received by the consultant.  Physicians must have an effective test management system.  

(c) have a system in place for review of test results or consultations and arrangements for follow-up care when necessary, 

(d) On receipt of a clinically significant test result, the physician must always communicate that result to the patient in a timely manner. 

(e) have a system in place to contact the patient when follow-up care is necessary

(f) document all contacts and attempts to contact the patient, and

(g)  make arrangements for responding to "critical" diagnostic test results reported by a laboratory or imaging facility for urgent attention after regular working hours or in the absence of the ordering physician. 

(h) inform patients as to whether they are using a "no news is good news" strategy and must offer an approach for the patient to access their results, including the opportunity for a follow-up appointment.

(2) A physician who orders a diagnostic test, and directs a copy of the result to another physician, remains responsible for any follow-up care required unless the physician to whom a copy is directed has agreed to accept responsibility for follow-up care.

 Based on the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta

     Legal Commentary  moral factors and Medical Care 

     Referral Templates

11/12, amended 10/14, 11/20

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