GPs say the extra workload caused by receiving test results they didn’t order keeps them away from patients. (File photo)
GPs suffering from “alert fatigue” will stop receiving all laboratory results generated by hospitals under a proposed change.
The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board works with general practitioners to reduce the time spent annotating ordered lab results in hospitals.
Chief medical officer Dr Nick Baker said nothing had been decided yet, but the aim was to reduce the workload for GPs, while ensuring they were given relevant information on their patients.
Currently, every result generated in the hospital is sent to GPs, who then have to read the results and upload them to patient portals such as Manage My Health.
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This was causing “alert fatigue” for general practitioners, he said.
“General practitioners therefore accumulate a large number of results every day to consult, many of which are ordered by other people responsible for deciding and communicating the actions to be taken.
“They tell us that this workload of results to verify can be overwhelming and distract from the most important results they need to act on.”
It was the responsibility of the person who ordered a test to act, and all information was always available through HealthOne – a system that allows lab test results to be viewed by both hospital physicians and physicians. primary care, Baker said.
“This means that if a patient asks their GP for a particular lab test, the GP can look for it. HealthOne is effectively the “backstop” in this situation. “
Nelson GP spokesperson Dr Graham Loveridge said GPs were spending more and more time emptying their inboxes.
“General practitioners are really struggling under the volumes of their workloads. “
Receiving unnecessary information was a distraction from the results they needed to track, he said.
“If we can remove this stuff, it will make our workday a little easier and prevent us from being overwhelmed with the sheer volume of patient information. “
Reducing sharing of results also meant it was clearer who was responsible for tracking results, and having fewer emails meant that something was less likely to be overlooked, Loveridge said.
“It has an element of patient safety. “
All hospital discharge summaries would be shared with GPs and uploaded to patient portals, and information that required continued attention or was part of ongoing testing would still be shared, he said.
Baker said they were looking for the best way to alert GPs to results they need to know, including when a patient requests that the results be shared.
“Hospital clinicians are always the people responsible for communicating results to patients, but there will always be cases where they want GPs to be informed of the results. ”