Validating Laboratory Results in Electronic Health Records: A College of American Pathologists Q-Probes Study

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Context—Laboratories must ensure that the test results and pathology reports they transmit to a patient’s electronic health record (EHR) are accurate, complete, and presented in a useable format. Objective—To determine the accuracy, completeness, and formatting of laboratory test results and pathology reports transmitted from the laboratory to the EHR. Design—Participants from 45 institutions retrospectively reviewed results from 16 different laboratory tests, including clinical and anatomic pathology results, within the EHR used by their providers to view laboratory results. Results were evaluated for accuracy, presence of required elements, and usability. Both normal and abnormal results were reviewed for tests, some of which were performed in-house and others at a reference laboratory. Results—Overall accuracy for test results transmitted to the EHR was greater than 99.3% (1052 of 1059). There was lower compliance for completeness of test results, with 69.6% (732 of 1051) of the test results containing all essential reporting elements. Institutions that had fewer than half of their orders entered electronically had lower test result completeness rates. The rate of appropriate formatting of results was 90.9% (98 of 1010). Conclusions—The great majority of test results are accurately transmitted from the laboratory to the EHR; however, lower percentages are transmitted completely and in a useable format. Laboratories should verify the accuracy, completeness, and format of test results at the time of test implementation, after test changes, and periodically.