Abstract

Some major studies on patient safety have listed among other findings the need to improve the accuracy of patient identification to reduce laboratory errors. The studies have also found that most errors occur in the pre-analytical phase and suggest the implementation of a more rigorous methodology and technologies for error reduction. In line with the findings of the studies, this paper introduces ATOMS (Advanced Test Order Management System), a knowledge-based system for the management of specimen ordering and collection. ATOMS enable complete automation of the laboratory ordering process, from the point of physician-patient contact until specimen delivery to the laboratory. With physicians performing tests orders on the Order Entry System, ATOMS results in a unique blend of technology which ensures that laboratories receive complete electronic laboratory orders and pre-labeled specimen tubes which are ready for direct analyzer placement. A pilot trial of ATOMS was conducted at a local government hospital for three months. The results of the pilot trial indicated that the application of ATOMS increased patient safety by significantly reducing the opportunity for mistakes and the actual number of errors in healthcare delivery.

COinS