6 Tips to Improve Pathology Lab Performance and Ensure Error Free Reporting
Tips and tricks to iron out all the inadequacies leading to errors in your lab reports.
In the age of evidence-based medicine, laboratory reports are the backbone of any major or minor clinical decision. As any pathology lab owner, to improve lab performance and generate least error-riddled report is probably the highest on your priority list. As a leading LIS software company, we work closely with several pathology labs and have seen the challenges upclose and worked with them to create solutions.
Working with several pathology labs, we analyzed the most common and oft repeated reasons of errors in laboratory reports and list down 6 ways to get that perfect error free report here.
1. Using Bar Code System of Identification
Using a Laboratory Information System (LIS) a unique bar-code can be generated for each sample that will also incorporate the UHID of the patient. Right at the sample collection point, bar codes can be used on the vacutainers containing the samples. This will avoid any kind of duplication or wrong sample, wrong test confusion. A right sample from the right patient when tested for the right test will in all possibility give an error free, accurate report.
2. Device Integration
Interlinking as many processes as possible with LIS would mean that human intervention is reduced considerably; lower the human intervention, higher are the chances of avoiding human intervention induced errors. Aim to automate your lab as much as possible. Interlink and integrate lab devices as much as possible with your LIS.
3. Pre-Analytical Check Point
A single pre-analytical checkpoint can be set up and made part of the Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) to be followed before the actual pathological test. This will hugely help in avoiding wrong test results due to human errors as well as help in reducing the time wasted on wrong samples.
4. Having a Maintenance and Calibration Schedule
When you automate your lab and depend heavily on the equipments to give you completely error free reports and maintain your Turn Around Time (TAT) it is mandatory that a close watch on the maintenance and calibration schedule of the equipments be maintained. Only well-calibrated and maintained equipments will generate 100% error free reports on a daily basis. You should also do some random QI checks on the equipment to ascertain that the reports generated by it are accurate.
5. Strict Adherence of Login Usage
Only authorized personnel should finally authorize the test result. Use of another personnel’s login by an unauthorized person should be strictly monitored and should not be entertained. When a Sr. Technologist authorizes a test report from the login ID of a Pathologist it would certainly reduce the work load of the Pathologist but the Technologist may not read the report as the Pathologist would have, thus possibly missing out on a major finding which may have made significant difference in the treatment of the patient or early detection of a major clinical condition.
6. Automate the Report Generation
More often than not, it is not the wrong testing procedure or a wrong sample that results in a wrong report; but it is a plain typing error. While automating your lab, ensure that the equipment’s are programmed to generate reports in the standard laboratory-reporting format. This will help you eliminate the role of the typist from the process, which will in turn eliminate all typing errors. This will also play a significant role in reducing your manpower costs.
These tips focus on using technology to deliver that perfect error free report because while focusing on quality reports you cannot forget your TAT. Timely and error free reports are the key to your laboratory edging out it’s competition successfully.