Computers in total quality management. Statistical process control to expedite stats

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1993 Sep;117(9):900-5.


We developed a system of computer programs to gather and then display data on turnaround time for stat tests. The data were those generated by the testing process itself so that no additional data entry was necessary. The system provided daily as well as longitudinal data for statistical process control implemented in the laboratory. The median and 90th percentile turnaround times were calculated for high-volume tests (complete blood cell count and Chem6 [six chemical serum component concentrations, ie, sodium, potassium, chloride, carbon dioxide, glucose, and urea nitrogen]), and a graphic display was automatically generated. These parameters and visual aids permitted evaluation of stat processing in the laboratory. The impact of management decisions on the stat process could be measured. Intralaboratory processing procedures were modified, and phlebotomy personnel were repositioned. Our various measurements showed which decisions improved stat turnaround time.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Chemical Analysis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Blood Specimen Collection / statistics & numerical data*
  • Clinical Laboratory Information Systems*
  • Hematologic Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Laboratories, Hospital / standards*
  • Laboratories, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Missouri
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Time Factors