Monitor adherence to the turnaround times as determined for each examination


The diagnostic decision is, among others, based on the results of laboratory testing. The longer it takes before the laboratory results are known, the longer it takes before a proper diagnostic and treatment decision can be made. In the meantime the patient remains ill and the disease may even progress, burdening the patient even more or even leading to death. It is therefore critical that laboratory results are delivered in the shortest time possible. Therefore turnaround times (TATs) are determined for each examination. To control and improve the TAT of laboratory examinations, it is crucial to continuously monitor adherence to turnaround times.


In the quality manual and the SOP on Reporting of Results a table with the TAT for each examination was included. Monitor on a quarterly basis the adherence to TAT for each test. The outcome of these assessments are input for the Quarterly Reports (of which development will be started later in phase 3).

Monitoring of TAT is often done by calculating the TAT for a random 10% of the samples analyzed in a specific examination per quarter. This makes this process less labor intensive and time-consuming.

How & who

Quality Officer:

  1. If necessary, adapt the laboratory registers such that the sample reception date and the reporting date are included.
  2. Calculate for each examination performed in the laboratory for 10% of the samples the TAT. Select the samples randomly. If an examination is performed only a few number of times, calculate the TAT for all the samples analyzed.
  3. Calculate the percentage of samples exceeding the TAT for each examination. Later in phase 3 you have to start drafting Quarterly Reports; monitoring of TAT will be one of the indicators of which results need to be included in the Quarterly Reports.
  4. Compare the data with previous TAT assessments. The goal is to decrease the percentage of samples exceeding the TAT to 0%:
    • Try to identify factors that could cause delay of the TAT within the process of each examination. See if these factors can be corrected to decrease the percentage of samples exceeding the TAT.
    • If unexpected changes in TAT are detected, perform an analysis to identify the cause of the change. E.g. if the percentage of samples exceeding the TAT for a specific examination increases, find the cause, correct this and implement preventive actions to ensure that this never happens again.
    • Determine if the corrective/preventive measures have worked by analyzing the data of the TAT assessment in the following quarter.

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This activity belongs to the QSE Process Management


ISO15189:2007: 5.8.11
ISO15189:2012: 4.14.7