Background: Proficient laboratory service is the cornerstone of modern healthcare systems and has an impact on over 70% of medical decisions on admission, discharge, and medications. In recent years, there is an increasing awareness of the importance of errors in laboratory practice and their possible negative impact on patient outcomes. Aim: We retrospectively analyzed data spanning a period of 3 years on analytical errors observed in our laboratory. The data covered errors over the whole testing cycle including preâÂÂ, intraâÂÂ, and postâÂÂanalytical phases and discussed strategies pertinent to our settings to minimize their occurrence. Materials and Methods: We described the occurrence of preâÂÂanalytical, analytical and postâÂÂanalytical errors observed at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital clinical biochemistry laboratory during a 3âÂÂyear period from January, 2010 to December, 2012. Data were analyzed with Graph Pad Prism 5(GraphPad Software Inc. CA USA). Results: A total of 589,510 tests was performed on 188,503 outpatients and hospitalized patients. The overall error rate for the 3 years was 4.7% (27,520/58,950). PreâÂÂanalytical, analytical and postâÂÂanalytical errors contributed 3.7% (2210/58,950), 0.1% (108/58,950), and 0.9% (512/58,950), respectively. The number of tests reduced significantly over the 3âÂÂyear period, but this did not correspond with a reduction in the overall error rate (P = 0.90) along with the years. Conclusion: Analytical errors are embedded within our total process setup especially preâÂÂanalytical and postâÂÂanalytical phases. Strategic measures including quality assessment programs for staff involved in preâÂÂanalytical processes should be intensified.
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