Quality indicators (QIs) and risk management are important tools for a quality management system designed to reduce errors in a laboratory. This study aimed to show the effectiveness of QI-based risk management for the continual improvement of pre-analytical processes in the Kayseri Public Health Laboratory (KPHL) which serves family physicians and collects samples from peripheral sampling units.
QIs of pre-analytical process were used for risk assessment with the failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) method. Percentages and risk priority numbers (RPNs) of QIs were quantified. QI percentages were compared to the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) performance specifications and RPNs were compared to risk level scale, and corrective actions planned if needed. The effectiveness of risk treatment actions was re-evaluated with the new percentages and with RPNs of predefined QIs.
RPNs related to four QIs required corrective action according to the risk evaluation scale. After risk treatment, the continual improvement was achieved for performance and risk level of “transcription errors”, for risk levels of “misidentified samples” and “not properly stored samples” and for the performance of “hemolyzed samples”. “Not properly stored samples” had the highest risk score because of sample storage and centrifugation problems of peripheral sampling units which are not under the responsibility of the KPHL.
Public health laboratories may have different risk priorities for pre-analytical process. Risk management based on predefined QIs can decrease the risk levels and increase QI performance as evidence-based examples for continual improvement of the pre-analytical process.
Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.
Research funding: None declared.
Employment or leadership: None declared.
Honorarium: None declared.
Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.
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