In Finland, about 70 million laboratory tests are conducted each year. Based on statistics, it is thought that the biggest potential for error in the laboratory process is before the analysis of a specimen is performed. This pre-analytical phase is therefore the riskiest point in the patient’s laboratory process, and it has been estimated that each year up to 1.3 million laboratory tests (1.8%) contain a pre-analytical error. These errors account for 50-70% of all laboratory test errors, and entail significant costs in terms of money and delayed or inappropriate treatment.
The cost to Finnish health care for re-sampling these errors is estimated to be about EUR 10 million per year. In addition, much higher indirect costs are incurred when patients have to make repeated visits to the laboratory or doctor’s surgery. As a result of incorrect results or where results are misattributed, patients may undergo unnecessary further investigation or be subject to incorrect treatment. Patient guidance for laboratory sampling is therefore an important part of the pre-analytical phase of laboratory testing. In helping to ensure that correct procedures are followed, patient guidance can be used to improve patient safety in the laboratory process.
Clinical Guideline - Patient guidance for laboratory tests.pdf