Monitoring laboratory processes is a proactive approach to prevention of medical errors and assurance of patient safety. Safety, efficiency, and timeliness of clinical laboratory services can be defined and measured.
Select one or two processes for each phase of testing (preanalytic, analytic, and postanalytic). To identify areas to monitor for improvement, consider focusing upon those systems or disease processes in which clinical laboratory test information has the greatest impact. Or, consider those processes that are high volume, high cost, or high risk. The laboratory could also monitor those circumstances in which clinical laboratory test information is used immediately (i.e, stat turnaround times). When information must be used immediately or without other data, it will have a more significant impact on the patient and may be more prone to error.