Results Reporting

General Information

Expected turn-around times for each test are listed in the test menu pages of this website. In the unlikely event that we experience a prolonged technical delay in performing testing, specimens may be redistributed to alternate testing sites (e.g. alternate UCSF laboratory, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, or one of our affiliated reference laboratories). Problems judged to affect a wide variety of users are announced to the clinical staff via a message posted in APeX.

Critical and Subcritical Results

In collaboration with the UCSF medical staff, the Clinical Labs has established a list of critical results that are felt to be potentially life threatening.  Test results meeting these criteria will be immediately phoned to the ordering physician’s office (outpatients) or the nursing unit (inpatients). In addition, in collaboration with Patient Safety and Risk Management, we have identified a list of subcritical results that, while not immediately life threatening, pose significant patient/public risk if not addressed in a timely fashion.  For UCSF providers, subcritical test results are immediately available in APeX and flagged as abnormal.  For non-UCSF providers, these results are reported to the patient’s primary care physician within one business day.

The following link contains the list of critical and subcritical results, including our reporting requirements. In addition, critical result thresholds can be found associated with the individual test listings in the test menu.

Reporting to UCSF Providers

Laboratory results are reported electronically to the APeX electronic health record as soon as they are completed. Outpatient providers will be alerted to new results by an inbox message.

In the event of a prolonged computer downtime (>2-3 hours), hardcopy reports will be prepared and delivered to the nursing stations and critical and stat results will be telephoned.  During a downtime, please refrain from calling the laboratory unless there is an urgent need, as these interruptions can further delay our ability to report results.

Reporting to non-UCSF Providers

Non-UCSF providers are encouraged to sign up for MD Link access.

The MD Link portal allows providers to place orders and receive results electronically.

Alternatively, if you are a provider at an institution that utilizes an Epic electronic medical record system, you may be able to access your patient’s UCSF records through Epic’s “Care Everywhere” functionality. Please contact your internal Epic support team for additional information.

If computer access is not available, a hard copy report will be printed and sent via U.S. Mail to the address on record with our Medical Staff Office.

Reporting to Patients

Patients that would like direct access to the laboratory results are encourage to sign up for MyChart access.

With rare exception (e.g. certain genetic tests and tests protected by California state law, such as HIV testing), laboratory results are rapidly released to MyChart for direct patient viewing.  At this point, the UCSF Clinical Labs is unable to issue hardcopy results directly to patients and such requests should be directed to UCSF Health Information Management Services.

Fax Requests

The Clinical Labs has limited ability to fax results. Providers wishing to fax records to outside providers should utilize APeX’s built-in faxing functionality.

Outside Laboratory Results

With the exception of patient tests that we send out to our reference laboratories, it is UCSF Clinical Laboratory policy to NOT enter patient results from other institutions into our SunQuest laboratory information system.  Providers, however, may enter such results directly into APeX, provided they clearly indicate the performing laboratory (i.e. NOT UCSF).  Please contact the Chief Information Officer for additional information.

Special Reporting Regulations

Certain state and federal regulations require the UCSF Clinical Laboratories to report specific laboratory results (e.g. HIV and lead) to governmental agencies.  A record of these disclosures is maintained by the laboratory.  Please see the California Department of Health Care Services website for additional information.

Reference Ranges

Current reference ranges for each of our assays can be found in our test menu.  Additionally, both current and historical reference ranges can be found in our reference range spreadsheets.