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.
Here's What Worked
- 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