Critical and Alert Values

ARUP Laboratories defines critical values as any test result that may require rapid clinical attention to avert significant patient morbidity or mortality. Critical values are defined by the medical director of each technical section. Prompt verbal notification is provided to clients for results that are ARUP-defined critical values and require the immediate attention of a clinician.

Alert values refer to any result that is not a critical value but that requires timely intervention (e.g., therapeutic drug monitoring, public health, infection control indication).

Lists of Critical and Alert Values

Verbal Test Results Notification

In compliance with HIPAA, test results are communicated verbally only to a member of the healthcare team responsible for the patient and authorized to take patient results. For authentication, client contacts are asked for:

  • Their full name (first and last)
  • Their department
  • Their position or title

In addition to the critical test result(s), and any accompanying information, the following information is provided by ARUP:

  • Patient name, spelled out
  • ARUP medical record number and client ID number
  • Full test name
  • Date and time of collection

The client contact receiving the verbal information is asked to:

  • Read back the test results
  • Read any other information provided
  • Correctly spell the patient’s full name

Test results and protected health information (PHI) are not left on voice mail. All verbal critical value notifications are documented, and records stored by ARUP. A monthly Critical Call Log Report is available to clients through ARUP Connect.