Hematology point of care testing and laboratory errors: an example of multidisciplinary management at a children's hospital in northeast Italy
Sergio Parco, Patrizia Visconti, Fulvia Vascotto
Institute for Maternal and Child Health, Trieste, Italy
Abstract: Involvement of health personnel in a medical audit can reduce the number of errors in laboratory medicine. The checked control of point of care testing (POCT) could be an answer to developing a better medical service in the emergency department and decreasing the time taken to report tests. The performance of sanitary personnel from different disciplines was studied over an 18-month period in a children's hospital. Clinical errors in the emergency and laboratory departments were monitored by: nursing instruction using specific courses, POCT, and external quality control; improvement of test results and procedural accuracy; and reduction of hemolyzed and nonprotocol-conforming samples sent to the laboratory department. In January 2012, point of care testing (POCT) was instituted in three medical units (neonatology, resuscitation, delivery room) at the Children's Hospital in Trieste, northeast Italy, for analysis of hematochemical samples. In the same period, during the months of January 2012 and June 2013, 1,600 samples sent to central laboratory and their related preanalytical errors were examined for accuracy. External quality control for POCT was also monitored in the emergency department; three meetings were held with physicians, nurses, and laboratory technicians to highlight problems, ie, preanalytical errors and analytical methodologies associated with POCT. During the study, there was an improvement in external quality control for POCT from -3 or -2 standard deviations or more to one standard deviation for all parameters. Of 800 samples examined in the laboratory in January 2012, we identified 64 preanalytical errors (8.0%); in June 2013, there were 17 preanalytical errors (2.1%), representing a significant decrease (P<0.05, χ2 test). Multidisciplinary management and clinical audit can be used as tools to detect errors caused by organizational problems outside the laboratory and improve clinical and economic outcomes.
Keywords: involvement, sanitary personnel, procedural accuracy, test results
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