Sometimes, the root cause of failures cannot be identified based on the troubleshooting techniques described previously. Documentation of the failure and determining an escalation plan is outlined below.
- Document all troubleshooting and analysis.
- Ask other technical staff for review and any other troubleshooting ideas that may not have been considered.
- Fellow laboratory staff have a wealth of knowledge; troubleshooting together helps improve intra-laboratory communication and comradery and can bring up solutions that others have found to work.
- Know when to call technical support from the manufacturer.
- The instrument manufacturer may have other troubleshooting options that may not have been considered.
- The instrument may have a mechanical problem that only the manufacturer can address.
- Most importantly, an inaccurate result is worse than no result.
- If the problem cannot be resolved within a timeframe that won't affect patient testing, it is essential to develop a strategy with laboratory management to delay testing until failures can be resolved and patient testing can resume.