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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2003 Oct;41(10):1373-8.

Learning curve of a new hospital laboratory. The monitoring of computer-generated turnaround time of laboratory tests in an emergency department.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, The Buddhist Dalin Tzu-Chi General Hospital, Dalin, Chia-Yi, Taiwan, ROC.

Abstract

Learning curves have been described for different health technologies, mainly new surgical or diagnostic procedures, but learning curves for a new hospital's laboratory procedures have not been systematically studied. To monitor the timeliness (turnaround time) of stat tests from the Emergency Department as a marker of laboratory quality and to address the issue of a learning curve for procedures performed in a new hospital laboratory, we employed a computerized system for collecting data of turnaround time (from order entry to result verification) on stat tests from the Emergency Department of a newly opened (July 24, 2000) 471-bed general hospital. The data collection operates without user intervention. We evaluated the turnaround times of stat complete blood count and biochemistry tests from August 2000 to December 2001. Results show that it took 6 to 12 months before the turnaround times reached a plateau, we believe that this is the learning curve of a new hospital laboratory. Computer-generated turnaround times for Emergency Department stat tests appear to be a useful tool for monitoring the quality of laboratory tests and can demonstrate the learning curve of a new hospital laboratory.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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