Laboratory tests: proper communication reduces error
Sanjay A Pai argues that improving communication between clinicians and pathologists is a way to reduce the number of laboratory mistakes
- By: Sanjay A Pai
Making a request for an investigation or a range of tests is easy—it is often the easiest thing to do in a clinical diagnostic dilemma. It's the interpretation of the results that may be difficult and may even occasionally lead to a misdiagnosis. This is ironic because the clinician had ordered the test in the first place to help him or her arrive at the correct diagnosis.
For a profession that considers “first, do no harm” as a guiding principle, medicine has had to deal with error. Medical error is a topic that has received considerable attention recently in professional journals, and it has also been highlighted in the media.12 Much of this has been medication error.3 Laboratory errors can also contribute to morbidity and mortality. At the very least, they can lead to patient anxiety and dissatisfaction with the laboratory or the hospital system.
Blindly accepting a senseless laboratory