Article Text


Laboratory turnround time: closing the loop.
  1. W S Smellie,
  2. P J Galloway,
  3. J I Johnston
  1. Institute of Biochemistry, Glasgow Royal Infirmary.


    AIMS--To institute recommendations from a laboratory turnround time study; to evaluate audit methods; and to quantify improvements achieved. METHODS--Changes to result report distribution and specimen delivery were affected by posting results directly from the laboratory followed by the introduction of a twice daily courier service. Improvements were evaluated by repeating the turnround time audit described in an earlier report. Pre-, peri- and post-analytical turnround times were compared before and after changes had been instituted. RESULTS--Directly posting general practitioner (GP) results increased the percentage of reports which reached their destination within one and two days after they were generated from 13 to 29% and from 68 to 82%, respectively. Pre- and postanalytical times were superimposable before and after posting was started. Corresponding improvements to the satellite hospital service were from 25 to 78% and from 60 to 82%, respectively. The courier service shortened the median total turnround time from 50 to nine hours for GPs and from 69 to 18 hours for the satellite hospital. Fifty three per cent of GP reports and 21% of satellite hospital reports arrived on the same day as the sample was taken: 99% and 94%, respectively, had arrived by the next day. The number of analytically "old" samples which arrived the day after they had been taken, thus invalidating many results, fell from 25 to 3%. CONCLUSIONS--These audits of laboratory turnround time have been used to present a valid case for changes to laboratory transport and to quantify the improvements achieved. They produce consistent and repeatable results, which may also be used to monitor future performance, to assess further changes and to establish the cost-effectiveness of resources used.

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