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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National Patient Safety Goal: Improve Staff Communication

Effective communication of critical results of laboratory tests to a licensed caregiver in a timely manner is required for this National Patient Safety Goal. The procedure must define critical results of laboratory tests, by whom and to whom critical laboratory test results are communicated, and the acceptable time between availability and reporting of critical laboratory test results.
Once the laboratory develops its procedure for "Communication of Critical Test Results," the procedure must be monitored for compliance and timeliness.
Critical laboratory test results that are given over the phone must only be given to clinical personnel in charge of the patient's care. The person who receives the result should be asked to read back the information that is given to verify that it was heard correctly. The person who reported the result, the person who was notified, and the date and time of notification should be documented along with the test result.