One of the most fundamental aspects of your medical treatment is lab work. No matter what your healthcare service is testing, lab results can determine everything from scheduling to prescriptions to surgery.
Lab result misreadings are an overlooked form of medical malpractice. They are common when doctors are short on time or do not have enough training. There is a lot of responsibility on your doctors’ shoulders, and when mistakes happen, the outcome can be devastating.
If you have ever received a lab report, you know that the information can be difficult to read. These tips should help:
- Make sure you know the technical terminology on the labels.
- Be aware of the different abbreviations and their meanings.
- If you are unsure about what a unit of measurement is, do some research before following the instructions.
When you know how to read your report, you should have an easier time keeping your doctors in check if they make mistakes.
Your doctor’s reading
Sometimes doctors have too much faith in tests. False positives are more common than you might think, and your doctors may not even be aware. A study revealed that in U.S. emergency rooms, high-sensitivity troponin tests lead to false positives 84% of the time. Research has revealed similar yields with other critical tests, such as mammograms. These errors can lead to misdiagnoses, incorrect prescriptions and long-term treatment that does more harm than good.
It is important that you and your doctors remain on the same page when it comes to your lab results. Not only is it your doctor’s duty to give you accurate information, but to ensure that you understand this information.