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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Editorial Board Member: Gillery, Philippe / Kazmierczak, Steven / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Schlattmann, Peter / Whitfield, John B.

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National survey on critical values reporting in a cohort of Italian laboratories

Giuseppe Lippi1 / Davide Giavarina2 / Martina Montagnana3 / Gian Luca Salvagno4 / Piero Cappelletti5 / Mario Plebani6 / Gian Cesare Guidi7

1Sezione di Chimica e Microscopia Clinica, Dipartimento di Scienze Morfologico-Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Verona, Verona, Italy

2Laboratorio di Chimica Clinica ed Ematologia, Dipartimento di Patologia Clinica, Ospedale San Bortolo, Vicenza, Italy

3Sezione di Chimica e Microscopia Clinica, Dipartimento di Scienze Morfologico-Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Verona, Verona, Italy

4Sezione di Chimica e Microscopia Clinica, Dipartimento di Scienze Morfologico-Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Verona, Verona, Italy

5Laboratorio di Patologia Clinica, Azienda Ospedaliera “Santa Maria degli Angeli”, Pordenone, Italy

6Dipartimento di Medicina di Laboratorio, Università degli Studi di Padova, Padova, Italy

7Sezione di Chimica e Microscopia Clinica, Dipartimento di Scienze Morfologico-Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Verona, Verona, Italy

Corresponding author: Prof. Giuseppe Lippi, MD, Sezione di Chimica Clinica, Dipartimento di Scienze Morfologico-Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Verona, Ospedale Policlinico G.B. Rossi, Piazzale Scuro, 10, 37134 Verona, Italy Phone: +39-045-8074517, Fax: +39-045-8201889, ,

Citation Information: Clinical Chemical Laboratory Medicine. Volume 45, Issue 10, Pages 1411–1413, ISSN (Online) 14374331, ISSN (Print) 14346621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2007.288, October 2007

Publication History

Received:
2007-04-19
Accepted:
2007-06-19
Published Online:
2007-10-10

Abstract

Background: Critical values' reporting is an essential requisite for clinical laboratories. Local policies were investigated within an indicative cohort of Italian laboratories to monitor the situation and establish a performance benchmark.

Methods: A five-point questionnaire was administered to 150 laboratory specialists attending the SIMEL (Italian Society of Laboratory Medicine) National Meeting in June 2006.

Results: A total of 107 questionnaires (71.3%) were returned with a 100% individual question response rate. Only 55% of the participants acknowledge critical values reporting as an essential practice, 80% admit that a comprehensive list of critical values is unavailable in the laboratory and 4% do not promptly communicate critical values. The list of critical values is variable among laboratories, ranging from none to 20 analytes included. The requesting physician or his/her office staff receives the great majority (97%) of notifications by telephone for outpatients. Critical values for inpatients are notified directly by telephone (81%) and in a minority of cases by either fax or computer (19%). In the inpatient setting, the information is notified to physicians (77%), nurses (15%) or other healthcare staff in the clinic (8%). It was found that 49% of the participants adopt a standard (digital or written) policy for routine recording of notifications; in 32% of the cases the registration is left to individual attitudes, whereas in 20% of the cases the notification is not recorded. No laboratory has yet adopted a read-back verification of the complete test result by the person receiving the information.

Conclusions: The importance of critical value reporting is still poorly recognized in Italy and uniform or internationally accredited practices for communication and recording are not currently implemented.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2007;45:1411–3.

Keywords: critical values; laboratory testing; survey

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