Requiem for the STAT Test: Automation and Point of Care Testing

Gurmukh Singh, Natasha M. Savage, Brandy Gunsolus, Kellie A. Foss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Quick turnaround of laboratory test results is needed for medical and administrative reasons. Historically, laboratory tests have been requested as routine or STAT. With a few exceptions, a total turnaround time of 90 minutes has been the usually acceptable turnaround time for STAT tests. Methods: We implemented front-end automation and autoverification and eliminated batch testing for routine tests. We instituted on-site intraoperative testing for selected analytes and employed point of care (POC) testing judiciously. The pneumatic tube system for specimen transport was expanded. Results: The in-laboratory turnaround time was reduced to 45 minutes for more than 90% of tests that could reasonably be ordered STAT. With rare exceptions, the laboratory no longer differentiates between routine and STAT testing. Having a single queue for all tests has improved the efficiency of the laboratory. Conclusion: It has been recognized in manufacturing that batch processing and having multiple queues for products are inefficient. The same principles were applied to laboratory testing, which resulted in improvement in operational efficiency and elimination of STAT tests. We propose that the target for in-laboratory turnaround time for STAT tests, if not all tests, be 45 minutes or less for more than 90% of specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E27-E31
JournalLab Medicine
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • STAT test
  • automation
  • autoverification
  • batch testing
  • intraoperative testing
  • paradigm shift
  • point of care testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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