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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Medical Error Prevention: Patient Safety. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Safe Analytic Component of Total Testing Process

Automation has improved the accuracy and safety of the analytic component of the total testing process; however, it is still important to examine this portion of the process.
The list below are examples of errors that may be encountered during the analytic testing activities. The list includes both human and instrumentation errors. While random errors (those that occur independently of the operator) may be encountered during the analytic phase, primarily noted are systematic errors, errors that bias the measurement resulting from either instrument malfunctions or human mistakes. Examples of systematic errors include:
  • Errors in quality control and verification of performance specifications
  • Instrument malfunctions
  • Calibration errors causing a direction of bias in results
  • Manual pipetting errors
  • Reagent errors
  • Specimen interference (eg, lipemia or hemolysis)
  • Calculation errors
  • Inadequate staffing, which may precipitate errors caused by fatigue