Yes, you may need to consider giving patients more information about the implications of different results when initially ordering a test. A small investment of time up front discussing expected results may save you and your clinic staff future work. For example, you may wish to let a patient know that a PSA result that is high on a screening test would not necessarily mean they have cancer. Similarly, if ordering the same PSA in a post prostatectomy patient, you may wish to let them know that the expected result is near zero, and that a “normal” range result is actually abnormal for them.
For more complex results especially, you may wish to let the patient know that they may see the results before you do, the expected wait until the results return, and the expected length of time that you may need to evaluate the meaning of the test with other members of the care team before you will be ready to interpret it for the patient, if applicable.
Patients may already have requisitions for lab tests that will be completed before these changes go into effect. These patients will not be able to benefit from pre-test counselling and consideration of how best to manage their concerns is needed.