Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archival print banner

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

Improving Your Office Testing Process

Using the Patient Handout

Table of Contents

You will find a sample Patient Handout at the end of this section. This tool can help you to engage patients in the testing process by providing them with information about what to do after having a test.

First, use the Patient Engagement Survey to determine how well patients understand their medical tests, their test results, and the need for followup. Then give patients the completed handout.

Encouraging patients to be more engaged in their care is a long-term project. You may need to use this handout for 3-6 months in order to reach a sufficient number of patients in your office.

Using the Handout

This handout has two parts. It is to be filled out by staff and given to patients at one of two points in the testing process.

Point 1. Complete the handout after an office visit during which a test is ordered. Give the handout to the patient to remind them of their role in making sure they get their test result. Photo depicts a health care provider obtaining a blood sample from a patient’s finger.

Point 2. Complete the handout after the patient has received his/her test result.

  • Confirm that the patient received the test result.
    • If he/she did not receive the result:
      • Arrange for the patient to get the result.
      • Note the error and examine your office system to determine why he/she did not receive the result.
  • If he/she has received the result, complete Part 2 of the handout to remind the patient of his/her role in following up on the test result.

Patient Education and Medical Tests

We know that:

  • Many patients will not follow up to obtain their test results without notification or encouragement from the office.
  • Patients have better outcomes when they know the reasons for their tests, take some responsibility for making sure they get their test results, and understand what the results mean.
  • The teach-back method in which a patient repeats what they have been told has been shown to enhance patient understanding.

Patient Handout

Patient Name: ______________________________

Instruction: Complete the appropriate section of this form and give it to the patient.

Reason for Medical Test(s)
___ Check-up  ___ Manage my health  ___ Understand the cause of my symptoms
1. After having a test:
I will hear from the office with my results by  (date) _______________________________________________________________

If I don’t hear back, I should call (phone number) _____________________________ and ask for (office contact person)

2. After getting a test result:

When I got my result(s), I was told (please check all that apply):
___ Do nothing
___ The result was normal
___ Continue my same medication or treatment
___ Change my medication or treatment
___ Return to the office for more tests (date and time) __________________________________________________________

___ See a specialist or go to another facility  (name/address/phone)



If I have questions and the situation is not an emergency, I should call: (office contact person and phone number)


Formulario para el Paciente

Nombre del paciente: ______________________________

Instrucciones: Complete la sección apropriada de esta formulario y entréguelo al paciente.

Razón del examen médico
___ Examen de rutina  ___ Control de mi salud ___ Entender la causa de mis síntomas
1. Después de hacerme el exámen médico:
La clínica me va a contactar con el resultado el (fecha) ____________________________________________________________

Si no me contactan, debo llamar al (teléfono) _____________________________ y preguntar por (persona de contacto en la clínica)  __________________________________________

2. Después de recibir el resultado de un examen:
Cuando recibí mi resultado me dijeron (marque todas las respuestas que aplican):
___ No hacer nada
___ El resultado fue normal
___ Continuar el mismo medicamento o tratamiento
___ Cambiar mi medicamento o tratamiento
___ Regresar a la clínica para más exámenes médicos  (fecha y hora) _________________________________________________
___ Ver a un especialista o ir a otra clínica  (nombre/dirección/teléfono)



Si tengo preguntas y la situación no es una emergencia, debo llamar a: (teléfono)  ______________________________ (persona de contacto en la clínica) ________________________________

Page last reviewed August 2013
Page originally created August 2013
Internet Citation: Using the Patient Handout. Content last reviewed August 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care