Table 1 Types of 966 testing process errors reported by family physicians and their office staffs in 590 event reports
n (%)
Test ordering125 (12.9)
    Needed test not ordered29 (3.0)
    Wrong test ordered11 (1.1)
    Unnecessary test ordered16 (1.7)
    Ordered test at wrong time2 (0.2)
    Contraindicated test ordered1 (0.1)
    Wrong test/patient name recorded in log7 (0.7)
    Test not entered into log3 (0.3)
    Lab order misinterpreted2 (0.2)
    Incomplete or illegible lab order slip40 (4.1)
    Errors in ordering investigations (not otherwise specified)14 (1.4)
Test implementation173 (17.9)
    Requested test not done (including specimen not drawn, image not booked)65 (6.7)
    Specimen improperly collected or stored/old or inadequate specimen22 (2.3)
    Specimen lost23 (2.4)
    Specimen/patient sent to wrong facility5 (0.5)
    Delay in obtaining specimen3 (0.3)
    Wrong specimen obtained1 (0.1)
    Stat or urgent test not processed or scheduled urgently7 (0.7)
    Wrong test performed or scheduled21 (2.2)
    Right test performed wrongly3 (0.3)
    Failure to instruct patient how to prepare for investigation1 (0.1)
    Test done, but results lost5 (0.5)
    Failure to alter medications for diagnostic procedure4 (0.4)
    Errors in implementing investigations (not otherwise specified)13 (1.3)
Reporting results to the clinician238 (24.6)
    Failure to report test results in a timely manner58 (6.0)
    Failure to report correct results (wrong values on report)11 (1.1)
    Results never received by office52 (5.4)
    Incorrect interpretation of results by facility or laboratory3 (0.3)
    Previous results, images and specimens could not be found for comparison1 (0.1)
    Incorrect/incomplete information on report49 (5.1)
    Failure to report test results to provider requesting test46 (4.8)
    Errors in reporting investigations to office (not otherwise specified)18 (1.9)
Clinician responding to the results64 (6.6)
    Responded incorrectly to test results4 (0.4)
    Failure to notice or respond to abnormal test results16 (1.7)
    Failure to notice or respond to abnormal test results in a timely manner27 (2.8)
    Inappropriately responded to incomplete test results3 (0.3)
    Failure to notice or respond to normal test results1 (0.1)
    Failure to notice or respond to normal test results in a timely manner5 (0.5)
    Responding to investigation results (not otherwise specified)8 (0.8)
Notifying the patient of results66 (6.8)
    Failure to notify patient of test result17 (1.8)
    Failure to notify patient of test result in a timely fashion37 (3.8)
    Failure to notify patient of test result in a sensitive manner1 (0.1)
    Test results given to wrong patient6 (0.6)
    Informed patient about same result more than once2 (0.2)
    Incorrect test results given to patient2 (0.2)
    Notifying patients of investigation results (not otherwise specified)1 (0.1)
Administrative170 (17.6)
    Filing system95 (9.8)
    Chart completeness and availability51 (5.3)
    Patient flow6 (0.6)
    Message handling1 (0.1)
    Appointments17 (1.8)
Treatments17 (1.8)
    Medication errors17 (1.8)
Communication55 (5.7)
    Errors in communication with patients16 (1.7)
    Communication with other providers sharing patient care26 (2.7)
    Errors in communication between whole healthcare team13 (1.3)
Other process errors52 (5.4)
    Building infrastructure or management errors5 (0.5)
    Equipment32 (3.3)
    Insurance-related errors8 (0.8)
    Wrongly charged1 (0.1)
    Workload management6 (0.6)
Knowledge and skills6 (0.6)
    Failure to follow standard or recommended clinical procedure5 (0.5)
    Failure to follow standard/recommended administrative practice1 (0.1)
Total966 (100.0)