Viewing pathology results – what is the real turn-around time?

G. R. D. Jones, M.-S. Ong, F. Magrabi, E. Coiera

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


Background: Laboratory turn around time (TAT) is seen as a key parameter for performance of pathology laboratories in the acute care setting. TAT is commonly viewed from the time of sample collection to the time the result is validated (TATlab). The real TAT for doctors is the time from collection to the time the result is seen (TATtot). TATtot is a combination of TATlab and the time until the result is viewed (TATv). In this study we measure TATlab, TATv and TATtot in a teaching hospital with web browser viewing of results. Methods: Potassium was used as an example analyte; 9340 results were included in the study. Times collected on each request were collection, result validation and viewing the results web page. The source of the request (ward) was also recorded. Results: The 50th and 90th centiles for TATlab were 70 and 130 min respectively, for TATv were 45 and 330 min (4.5 h) and for TATtot 140 and 450 min (2.3 and 7.5 h). For the Emergency Department TATv was faster (25 and 180 min) as was intensive care TATv (40 and 160 min). A 15 minute delay in producing results would affect 20% of doctors viewing results. It was also noted that doctors started attempting to view results up to 40 minute prior to result availability. Conclusion: The time taking to view results in the web system adds significantly to the TAT experienced by the doctor. Delays in the laboratory can affect a high percentage of doctors reviewing results. TAT in the viewing phase may be a target for improved TATtot.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S39-S40
Number of pages2
JournalClinical Biochemist Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventAustralasian Association of Clinical Biochemists annual scientific conference (50th : 2012) - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 15 Nov 201218 Nov 2012


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