Tag Archives: audit

“Communication Breakdown”

We conducted a brief audit recently on blood culture identification, and in particular how long it took for a definitive identification result (by MALDI-TOF) to be relayed to the hospital clinicians.

Audits are great at demonstrating that you are not half as good as you think you are…

Our audit showed that it was taking anywhere (depending on which cohort was studied) between 8 and 16 hours from when the identification was released by the laboratory into the “result repository”, until the result was actually viewed by a clinician.

And at the weekends the time delay was even longer, up to a day.


You can have the most sophisticated equipment in your laboratory, and we do…

You can have highly skilled and motivated staff members, and sure enough, we have them.

And you can also have one of the most progressive provincial microbiology laboratories in the world, and I like to think we have that as well.

But it all counts for nothing if we can’t communicate our results in a timely fashion.

Audit can be painful to perform, but highly informative in implementing best practice.

So back to the drawing board for us. Time to sit down and talk with the clinicians and work out a way to communicate results more quickly in order to optimise patient outcomes.

It’s good to talk.

Pre-analytical, peri-analytical and post-analytical phases. They all matter, and they all need to be addressed…



“Falling at the Last Hurdle.”

You may have a fantastic paperless processing system in your laboratory. You may have modern up to date technology and automated methods. You may even have low turnaround times and great QC results….

However if that urgent or important result is mistakenly phoned to the cleaner on the ward, then you have a problem.

"A laboratory telephone?"
“A laboratory telephone?”


In the digital age, audit trails within the laboratory are generally becoming very good. We can tell exactly who did what, when and why. However where there is still the potential to fall down is outwith the laboratory.

If a result is being phoned, it is critically important to find out who is on the other end of the phone, what their designation is (and whether they are suitable to receive the result), and then document this information.

Only with this information at hand, can the vertical audit trail be completed.

The cleaner may be good at getting rid of Clostridium difficile spores after the patient has moved on, but not so good at treating the infection……


p.s. Busy schedule this week, not much chance so far to add resource content to the website.