Speeding up laboratory test reporting in Medical Emergency and Cardiac Arrest calls: a quality improvement project
- Correspondence to Mohammed Al-Talib
- Received 11 August 2016
- Revision requested 18 November 2016
- Revised 12 December 2016
- Published 2 February 2017
Many hospitals deploy Medical Emergency (MET) and Cardiac Arrest teams to improve the management and treatment of patients who become critically ill. In many cases, blood results are key in allowing the clinicians involved in these teams to make definitive management decisions for these patients. Following anecdotal reports that these results were often delayed, we assessed the process of blood tests being reported in emergency calls, identified the key factors causing delays and sought to make improvements.
The initial intervention involved implementing a new blood form that specified the nature of the call, the tests required and a contact number for laboratory staff to contact the clinical team with results. We also developed a streamlined process within the laboratory for these samples to be fast-tracked. Successive improvement cycles sought to increase awareness of the project, improve accessibility to the new forms and embed spontaneous practices that contributed to improvement.
Results demonstrated an overall reduction in the time taken for blood samples in emergencies to be reported from 130 minutes to 97 minutes.
This project demonstrates that using a specific blood request form for emergency calls, and tying this to a specified laboratory process, improves the time taken for these tests to be reported. In addition, the project provides some insight into challenges faced when implementing change in new departments.
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