Lab Results Turnaround

September 1, 2005

How long should it take a physician to review and sign off on lab work?

Question: How long should it take a physician to review and sign off on lab work?

Answer: From a management perspective, there is no national standard for how long it should take to sign off on laboratory tests. This is really a matter of clinical protocol; most physicians use 24 hours as a rule of thumb.

To set a standard for your practice, think about potential problems created if abnormal test results sat on someone's desk for more than a day. Most physicians want to turn these around fast. Also, check with your malpractice carrier, who can advise you on the specific risks you are taking if you let test results sit.