Data Impact Challenge Question 5

Question 5: What is the rate of follow-up (first patient contact by the ordering clinician) for abnormal lab results, within one week?

Timeliness and consistency of follow-up to abnormal test results is accepted as an important component of effective healthcare. Further assessment of current performance could inform practice. For the purposes of this analysis, how often patients are contacted by the ordering clinician within one week (7 days counting the day that the test result is received by the ordering clinician) of the receipt of an abnormal test result. Analysts should specify how they are identifying abnormal results (e.g. out of the normal range specified by the testing laboratory), as well as how they are identifying first patient contact (e.g. visit or phone call recorded in a chart, electronic notification of test results).


Through the Data Impact Challenge, one submission was received in response to this question. The submission was received within the first week following the Challenge launch date. The submission collected data from primary care clinics within Winnipeg and Southern Manitoba. The scope of testing included approximately 40,000 outpatient abnormal results for four common tests.

Guiding Specifications

Numerator: Number of abnormal test results for which first patient contact occurs in the first week.
Denominator: Total number of abnormal test results.
Sample: Minimum sample size of 100,000 tests with abnormal results. Sample must represent a defined geographic area or patient population.
Timeframe: Analysis should include data which is no more than five (5) years old.

Participating Teams

Manitoba Primary Care Research Network

Team bio: Manitoba Primary Care Research Network (MaPCReN), the University of Manitoba’s affiliate of the Canadian Primary Care Research Network (CPCSSN)
Entry: PDF