Rules in laboratory testing procedure
Rules are the backbone of the successful operation of any system. They bring order, and give the ability to predict behavior and outcomes.
Inside a lab, rules are the predetermined guidelines that dictate a follow-up action based on a specific test result. Laboratories certainly require rules. Laboratory personnel call them “review criteria” or “clinical testing guidelines”. There are four layers of rules in the lab:
- reference ranges,
- quality control,
- delta checks,
An abnormal result in any of these categories can trigger a specific and predefined response. If a patient sample completes testing without violating any of the predefined rules, the test results are cleared for release to the physicians.
Rules can be enforced either manually, with lab personnel responsible for initiating the follow-up action, or through automation, by leveraging modern data management systems. Known as autoverification, this process not only improves quality but offers potential reduction in both time to results and cost. The time that was originally spent manually reviewing and validating normal results is now dedicated only to results that require attention. Because each laboratory is different, rules can be modified to meet the specific needs of the lab and the expectations of the clinicians.
For many laboratories, data automation is a first, important step toward gains in efficiency. Automation that ‘MediLab LIS’ offers, can help laboratories to achieve their core goals. From pre- to post-analytics, automation can help labs increase their testing capacity, improve turnaround time, and minimize human error. They also can realize significant cost savings while keeping specialized staff focused on the most essential tasks: those that put critical information in the hands of care-givers and treatment decision-makers. With reduced staffing becoming the norm in today’s clinical labs, the value of automation is even more apparent.