Abstract
AVOIDABLE ANALYTICAL ERRORS IN CLINICAL BIOCHEMISTRY LABORATORY

Dr. Anil Batta*

ABSTRACT

Laboratory testing is roughly divided into three phases: a pre-analytical phase, an analytical phase and a post-analytical phase. Most analytical errors have been attributed to the analytical phase. However, recent studies have shown that up to 70% of analytical errors reflect the pre-analytical phase. The pre-analytical phase comprises all processes from the time a laboratory request is made by a physician until the specimen is analyzed at the lab. Generally, the pre-analytical phase includes patient preparation, specimen transportation, specimen collection and storage. In the present study, we report the first comprehensive assessment of the frequency and types of pre-analytical errors at the Govt. Medical College, Amritsar diagnostic labs in Punjab province of India. Background: Proficient laboratory service is the cornerstone of modern healthcare systems and has an impact on over 70% of medical decisions on admission, discharge, and medications. In recent years, there is an increasing awareness of the importance of errors in laboratory practice and their possible negative impact on patient outcomes. Aim: We retrospectively analyzed data spanning a period of two years on analytical errors observed in our laboratory. The data covered errors over the whole testing cycle including pre-, intra-, and post-analytical phases and discussed strategies pertinent to our settings to minimize their occurrence. Materials and Methods: We described the occurrence of pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical errors observed at the Govt. Medical College & Hospital clinical biochemistry laboratory during a 3-year period from January, 2017 to December, 2019. Results: A total of 589,510 tests was performed on 188,503 outpatients and hospitalized patients. The overall error rate for the 3 years was 4.7% (27,520/58,950). Pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical errors contributed 3.7% (2210/58,950), 0.1% (108/58,950), and 0.9% (512/58,950), respectively. The number of tests reduced significantly over the 3-year period, but this did not correspond with a reduction in the overall error rate (P = 0.90) along with the years. Conclusion: Analytical errors are embedded within our total process setup especially pre-analytical and post-analytical phases. Strategic measures including quality assessment programs for staff involved in pre-analytical processes should be intensified.

Keywords: Errors, Post-analytical, Pre-analytical Quality control.


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