Magnitude of delayed turnaround time of laboratory results in Amhara Public Health Institute, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.

Gizachew Yismaw
Gizachew Yismaw
College of Medicine and Health Sciences

BMC Health Serv Res 2019 Apr 24;19(1):240. Epub 2019 Apr 24.

Amhara Public Health Institute, P.O.Box 447, Bahir Dar, Amhara, Ethiopia.

Background: Clinical decisions depend on timely laboratory result reporting. The timeliness is commonly expressed in turnaround time and serves as a quality improvement tool to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the laboratory. According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines, each laboratory shall establish turnaround times for each of its examinations that reflect clinical needs, and shall periodically evaluate whether or not it is meeting the established turnaround times. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the TAT of laboratory results done in the reference laboratories of the Amhara Public Health Institute, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.

Methods: A retrospective cross sectional study was carried out from 01 January to 31 September 2018. Each patient sample was considered as a study unit. Nine months data were extracted from the sample tracking log and from the Laboratory Information System (LIS) database. Descriptive and summary statistics were calculated using SPSS version 20.0 statistical software.

Results: A total of 34,233 patients samples were tested during the study period. Monthly average TAT ranged from 38.6 to 51.3 days for tuberculosis (TB) culture, 5.3 to 42.4 days for exposed infant diagnosis (EID) for HIV, 8.4 to 26 days for HIV 1 viral load, and 1.9 to 3.5 days for TB genexpert tests. Compared with the standard, 76.5% of the viral load, 68.1% of the EID for HIV and 53.8% of the TB genexpert tests had delayed TAT. Repeated reagent stock out, high workload, activities overlapping, and staff turnover were major reasons for the result delays.

Conclusions: There was a delayed turnaround time of laboratory results in APHI. HIV viral load, EID and TB genexpert results were the most affected tests. Workload reduction plan, proper stock management, specific work assignment and trained staff retention are important approaches to minimize the delayed TAT in the setting.

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April 2019

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