Hospitals Work To Address Hospital Lab Errors
Hospitals and health care quality groups nationwide have sought "to bring more rigorous standards to pathology labs" to prevent improper diagnoses and treatments, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to recent studies, 3% to 5% of samples taken from patients annually are defective because of errors.
In addition, the rate of errors related to labs is "significantly higher and more dangerous" in tests for many forms of cancer, the Journal reports. In such cases, false positives can lead to unnecessary surgeries, and false negatives can lead to missed diagnoses.
The largest effort to improve lab standards involves nine major academic medical centers, which have sought to redesign systems used to collect, label, handle and interpret blood and tissue samples.
Stephen Raab -- director of the center for pathology quality and health care research at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and leader of the effort -- said that about 1% of errors related to labs lead to serious injuries or delays in treatment.
David Troxel -- medical director for The Doctors Company, which insures 800 pathologists -- said that malpractice claims related to lab errors are the second-most expensive for hospitals after those related to neurology.
Other organizations that have sought to improve lab standards include the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, CDC, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, 6/14).