Laboratory results are involved in the vast majority of patient diagnoses and treatment plans. The tests that generate those results are proliferating in number and becoming increasingly complex and targeted. This is a concern for all healthcare providers, particularly those who order the tests and use the results to determine care for their patients.
A recent ECRI Institute patient-safety report on laboratory errors found most happen in the pre-analytic and post-analytic stages—including labeling mistakes, wrong tests ordered and misinterpretation of the results—underscoring how important it is that all healthcare providers work as a team to improve patient care. Working together, lab professionals, healthcare providers, medical schools, health information technology specialists, certifying bodies and hospital administrators need to commit to ensuring lab tests are appropriately ordered and used and analyses are accurate.