Team-Tested Practices
Female tech handling specimen bags.

Making errors while handling specimen samples can lead to diagnostic errors. Creating a map of the process can help.

A Map Keeps Specimen Handling Clean

Specimen-handling errors can lead to diagnostic delays and return visits. One lab in Atlanta averaged about four errors a month in their specimen-handling procedures, so the team gathered to identify the problem. They created a map of the 13-step collection process, and took photos of each other performing specific duties. The team then laminated the photos to create a booklet, which they placed around the lab so members could correctly follow the procedures. Errors went to zero in three months.

What Got Results

  • Discussing the problem and identifying the process to establish a chain of custody
  • Creating a procedural map, highlighted with photos and standardized tasks
  • Distributing laminated copies to appropriate areas of lab
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