Objectives: Most preanalytical errors at our institution occur during nonphlebotomy blood draws. We implemented an electronic health record (EHR), interfaced the EHR to the laboratory information system, and designed a new specimen collection module. We studied the effects of the new system on nonphlebotomy preanalytical errors.
Methods: We used an electronic database of preanalytical errors and calculated the number and type of the most common errors in the emergency department (ED) and inpatient nursing for 3-month periods before (August-October 2014) and after (August-October 2015) implementation. The level of staff compliance with the new system was also assessed.
Results: The average monthly preanalytical errors decreased significantly from 7.95 to 1.45 per 1,000 specimens in the ED (P < .0001) and 11.75 to 3.25 per 1,000 specimens in inpatient nursing (P < .0001). The rate of decrease was similar for mislabeled, unlabeled, wrong specimen received and no specimen received errors. Most residual errors (80% in the ED and 67% in inpatient nursing) occurred when providers did not use the new system as designed.
Conclusions: Implementation of a customized specimen collection module led to a significant reduction in preanalytical errors. Improved compliance with the system may lead to further reductions in error rates.