Evaluation of effectiveness of a computerized notification system for reporting critical values

Elisa Piva, Laura Sciacovelli, Martina Zaninotto, Michael Laposata, Mario Plebani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Failure to adequately communicate a critical laboratory value is a potential cause of adverse events. Accreditation requirements specify that clinical laboratories must undertake assessments and appropriate measures to improve the timeliness of critical value reporting and prompt receipt by the responsible caregiver. Documentation and communication processes must be regularly monitored and implemented under ongoing systems for quality monitoring. Critical value reporting is an important phase of the clinical laboratory testing process, and notifications of results outside the target time can indicate ineffectiveness of the process. In the present study, we report data obtained in a 12-month period of critical values analysis and describe a computerized communication system conducive to improving the quality of critical value reporting at a university hospital. Automated communication improves the timeliness of notification and avoids the potential errors for which accreditation programs require read-back of the result. The communication also improves the likelihood of reaching the physician on call and may provide important decision support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-441
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Alerting system
  • Clinical pathology
  • Communication
  • Critical value reporting
  • Errors
  • Information technology
  • Patient safety
  • Short message service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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