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Int J Qual Health Care. 2006 Dec;18(6):422-8. Epub 2006 Sep 26.

From customer satisfaction survey to corrective actions in laboratory services in a university hospital.

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Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Oulu, 90029 Oulu, Finland.



To find out the satisfaction of clinical units with laboratory services in a university hospital, to point out the most important problems and defects in services, to carry out corrective actions, and thereafter to identify the possible changes in satisfaction.




Senior physicians and nurses-in-charge of the clinical units at Oulu University Hospital, Finland.


Customer satisfaction survey using a questionnaire was carried out in 2001, indicating the essential aspects of laboratory services. Customer-specific problems were clarified, corrective actions were performed, and the survey was repeated in 2004.


In 2001, the highest dissatisfaction rates were recorded for computerized test requesting and reporting, turnaround times of tests, and the schedule of phlebotomy rounds. The old laboratory information system was not amenable to major improvements, and it was renewed in 2004-05. Several clinical units perceived turnaround times to be long, because the tests were ordered as routine despite emergency needs. Instructions about stat requesting were given to these units. However, no changes were evident in the satisfaction level in the 2004 survey. Following negotiations with the clinics, phlebotomy rounds were re-scheduled. This resulted in a distinct increase in satisfaction in 2004.


Satisfaction survey is a screening tool that identifies topics of dissatisfaction. Without further clarifications, it is not possible to find out the specific problems of customers and to undertake targeted corrective actions. Customer-specific corrections are rarely seen as improvements in overall satisfaction rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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