A prospective tool for risk assessment of sendout testing

Bonnie Cole, Jane A. Dickerson, Mark L. Graber, Corinne R. Fantz, Michael Laposata, Kerm Henriksen, Michael L. Astion, Paul Epner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Errors associated with laboratory testing can cause significant patient harm. Sendout testing refers to tests sent by a primary lab to a reference lab when testing is unavailable at the primary lab. Sendout testing is particularly high risk for patient harm, due to many factors including increased hand-offs, manual processes, and complexity associated with rare, low-volume tests. No published prospective tools exist for sendout risk assessment. Methods: A novel prospective tool was developed to assess risk of diagnostic errors involving laboratory sendout testing. This tool was successfully piloted at nine sites. Results: Marked diversity was noted among survey respondents, particularly in the sections on quality metrics and utilization management. Of note, most sites had committees who managed rules for test ordering, but few places reported enforcing these rules. Only one site claimed to routinely measure the frequency clinicians failed to retrieve test results. An evaluation of the tool indicated that it was both useful and easy to use. Conclusions: This tool could be used by other laboratories to identify the areas of highest risk to patients, which in turn may guide them in focusing their quality improvement efforts and resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalClinica Chimica Acta
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Errors
  • Laboratory risk
  • Reference laboratory
  • Referral laboratory
  • Risk assessment tool
  • Sendout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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