Background Traditionally, laboratories’ turnaround times (TAT) have been calculated by only considering analytical or intralaboratory steps. The measure of the postanalytical impact in TAT has barely been studied and, more specifically, the running time from when finalised results are available to when clinicians make their first enquiry with an electronic medical record.
Methods During May–June of 2013, two ‘Times’ were collected from our laboratory information system for all the priority requests coming from our day hospitals: ‘Validation time’ (TV), as the request report time with full verified results and ‘Enquiry time’ (TQ), as the time when the first consult was made via electronic medical record. We classified requests in groups depending on time results, and TQ-TV (percentiles) were calculated for each group.
Results 654 (69%) requests were consulted by clinicians before 15 : 00 on the same day with available results. 191 (20%) were consulted after 15 : 00 and had complete results as well (p50 (TQ–TV): 5 days) while 61 (7%) were never consulted (up to 31/12/2013). 39 (4%) requests were finally consulted before 15 : 00 h with no available results, but the average time difference between validation and enquiry was 31 min.
Conclusions The results obtained lead us to reconsider the TAT established with our day hospitals in order to know if priority has to be reviewed or if there are failures in follow-up results. ‘Enquiry time’ appears to be a powerful tool in detecting these issues and shows that TATs are no longer just a ‘laboratory problem’.
- QUALITY ASSURANCE
- QUALITY CONTROL
- EVIDENCE BASED PATHOLOGY
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