Mislabeled specimens, incomplete or missing labels, and test report delays are identified as top issues


ECRI Institute report “Laboratory testing is indispensable to patient care. Although it accounts for only 2% of U.S. healthcare expenditures, laboratory medicine is critical for accurate diagnosis and treatment planning and is the topic of ECRI Institute’s most recent safety study.

ECRI Institute PSO, one of the nation’s preeminent Patient Safety Organizations, recently conducted a Deep Dive™ analysis of laboratory-related safety events focusing on the impact of errors in the laboratory testing process on clinical decision making.

ECRI Institute PSO found that 96% of the events were associated with processes that actually occurred outside of the laboratory. Yet, organizations often said that the events they reported originated in the laboratory.

The analysis covers events which occurred from 2011 through May 2013. More than half of the 2,420 reported events were associated with three types of events: mislabeled specimens, specimens with an incomplete or missing label, and missing or delayed results.”

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