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Respir Care. 2014 Aug;59(8):1275-80.

Analysis of STAT laboratory turnaround times before and after conversion of the hospital information system.



Modern electronic health record systems (EHRS) reportedly offer advantages including improved quality, error prevention, cost reduction, and increased efficiency. This project reviewed the impact on specimen turnaround times (TAT) and percent compliance for specimens processed in a STAT laboratory after implementation of an upgraded EHRS.


Before EHRS implementation, laboratory personnel received instruction and training for specimen processing. One laboratory member per shift received additional training. TAT and percent compliance data sampling occurred 4 times monthly for 13 months post-conversion and were compared with the mean of data collected for 3 months pre-conversion. Percent compliance was gauged using a benchmark of reporting 95% of all specimens within 7 min from receipt.


Control charts were constructed for TAT and percent compliance with control limits set at 2 SD and applied continuously through the data collection period. TAT recovered to pre-conversion levels by the 6th month post-conversion. Percent compliance consistently returned to pre-conversion levels by the 10th month post-conversion. Statistical analyses revealed the TAT were significantly longer for 3 months post-conversion (P < .001) compared with pre-conversion levels. Statistical significance was not observed for subsequent groups. Percent compliance results were significantly lower for 6 months post-conversion (P < .001). Statistical significance was not observed for subsequent groups.


Extensive efforts were made to train and prepare personnel for challenges expected after the EHRS upgrade. Specific causes identified with the upgraded EHRS included multiple issues involving personnel and the EHRS. These data suggest that system and user issues contributed to delays in returning to pre-conversion TAT and percent compliance levels following the upgrade in the EHRS.

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