Ju-Ting Chuang, Medical Technologist, Dept. of Pathology
In recent years, as "patient safety" has become more and more important, the quality of pretest operations have gradually become the focus. The testing process begins from the collection of patient specimen to the approval and issuance of examination reports. The process includes specimen transportation, collection, and instrument inspections and variables in any step can affect medical issues such as patient care. In order to improve test efficacy and optimize the specimen transport process, the pathology department used the information system to construct a "Specimen Flow Monitoring Board" (Figure 1) to monitor the dynamic tracking of specimen from outpatient, emergency department, and inpatient nursing stations to the central laboratory of the pathology department.
The advantages of this system is that it includes complete records of the time the specimens are sent to different stations (time when specimen leaves the nursing station, enters the receiving center, and is sent to the laboratory), a list of urgent specimens, a reminder for specimen submission (specimens that should have arrived within the time limit), specimen status inquires, a reminder for repeated use of a specimen, and a shared system for inpatient nursing station inquires. This enables colleagues to keep track of specimen flow using the online system and to immediately provide, within the efficacy period of the report, test results to the clinician so as to facilitate subsequent patient treatment plan. A high-quality and reliable test report can help clinicians diagnose and follow-up on a disease and can be used as an important basis for patient treatment. The accuracy of pretest sampling and the monitoring of the delivery process are important aspects in the entire test process. We used the "Specimen Flow Monitoring Board" to keep track of specimen movement, reduce specimen loss and its risk of being missed, and to also reduce the number telephone enquiries from colleagues so that they are able to spend more time in clinical work to improve overall medical quality and provide comprehensive examination reports.
Figure 1. Specimen Flow Monitoring Board can display the movement of specimens from outpatient, emergency department, and inpatient department and an alarm is used to as reminder for prompt specimen submission.