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JCOM Abstract

J Clin Outcomes Manage 
2013 Oct;20(10):455-462
Improving patient safety through enhanced communication between emergency department clinicians and medical laboratory staff
Katz C, McNicholas K, Bounds R, Figurelle T, Jones C, Farley H, Witkin G, McLane MA, Johnson SR

Abstract Objective: To improve patient safety through identification, communication, and documentation of perceived contaminated specimen results. Methods: Representatives from the departments of emergency medicine, pathology and laboratory medicine, and performance improvement met to conduct a systematic review of a critical event and review associated policies and procedures. A new communication protocol was initiated to improve processes and patient safety. Results: Between November 2011 and March 2013, there was a 3% to 4% increase in the number of patient sample results proven to be not contaminated and truly reflecting the patient's condition compared with the period before implementation of the protocol. 96% to 97% of suspected inaccurate results from sample contamination were shown to be true indicators of sampling error. Anecdotal clinician evaluation of the new communication protocol revealed high satisfaction in the joint decision-making with medical laboratory scientists. Conclusion: The project has resulted in improved communication with clinicians, enhanced documentation of suspected contaminated results, increased patient safety, and increased interdepartmental understanding and cooperation.

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