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04 Dec 2013

AMA Position Statement on Patient Follow-Up, Recall, and Reminder Systems 2013

The AMA today released its Position Statement on Patient Follow-Up, Recall, and Reminder Systems 2013.  The new Position Statement has combined and updated the AMA Position Statement on Patient Follow-Up and Tracking 2000 (Revised 2002) and the AMA Position Statement on Patient Recall 1992.

In order to assist in diagnosing and treating a patient’s condition, a doctor may recommend the patient undertake further testing, such as pathology or diagnostic imaging, and/or refer the patient to another clinician.

AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, said that appropriate systems must be in place to ensure that pathology, radiology, and any other investigative tests and/or referrals are properly initiated, acted upon, and the results communicated in a timely manner.

“This is vital to ensure the provision of safe, high-quality medical care,” Professor Dobb said.

“Such systems must incorporate effective follow-up, recall, and reminders.

“The doctor-patient relationship is a partnership based on mutual respect and collaboration, where doctors and patients have rights as well as responsibilities.

“While doctors have a duty of care to their patients, patients are encouraged to actively participate in their own health care.

“They must be honest with their doctor regarding their health, make informed health care decisions, and undertake recommended treatments, tests, referrals, follow-up appointments, and reminder appointments.

“Good communication is essential for the provision of high quality medical care, and it is key to supporting patients' informed decision-making.

“Doctors should provide relevant information regarding the risks and benefits of attending or not attending a recommended test, referral, follow-up appointment, or recall appointment.

“However, patients’ informed health care decisions should be respected.  While patients have the right not to attend recommended tests, referrals, follow-up, or recall appointments, with this right comes the responsibility for the consequences of that properly informed decision to follow or reject their doctor's advice.

“Medical facilities should support patients, doctors, and other health care professionals by having effective and accountable systems for patient follow-up, recall, and reminders,” Professor Dobb said.

The AMA Position Statement on Patient Follow-Up, Recall, and Reminder Systems 2013 is at


4 December 2013


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Published: 04 Dec 2013