Errors in medicine have been a common occurrence since the birth of medicine, but have been brought to light more recently as more patients are becoming more active in their own care. Errors which involve the laboratory can be catastrophic for a patient, as a wrong test result can alter the entire treatment plan a physician implements. Healthcare organizations and accrediting organizations have become diligent about tracking errors and the most common sources of error, so that new policies, procedures, and technology can be implemented in order to reduce errors. The laboratory itself has made many strides in error prevention, but has encountered hurdles due to the difficulty of tracking errors that occur within the walls of the laboratory. Different steps which occur in the total testing process, or TTP, have been identified to better track sources of errors, and to better focus methods of which to prevent errors. The different steps of the total testing, the pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical phases of testing have drastic differences in the amount of errors that occur in each step. The step where the majority of errors occur is the pre-analytical phase, which consists of patient identification, specimen collection, and transport of specimens to the laboratory. Due to the large number of errors that occur in this phase, particularly with patient identification, healthcare organizations have begun to implement barcode technology for patient identification, medication distribution, blood transfusions, and labeling of specimens collected from the patient. Errors have been reduced greatly over the past several years, but there is still a long way to go to prevent all errors from occurring in patient care.
Year Manuscript Completed
Senior Project Advisor
George Michael Barton
Bachelor of Integrated Studies Degree
Field of Study
Health Care Administration
Payton, Amanda, "Medical Errors and the Laboratory: How Healthcare Organizations are Improving Rates and Improving Patient Care" (2017). Integrated Studies. 56.