Lab Med Online.  2016 Oct;6(4):228-232. 10.3343/lmo.2016.6.4.228.

Changing Guidelines for Clinical Microbiology Laboratories and Their Influences on Workflows Related to Consultations

  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Research Institute of Bacterial Resistance, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Since the concept of 'minimal identification of poor quality specimens or microbes with low pathogen potential' has been introduced into the standard operating procedure (SOP) to enhance work efficiency, consultations are requested for further species identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of consultations requests to the clinical microbiology laboratory on its work efficiency.
From January 2013 to April 2015, consultation requests to the laboratory in a tertiary-care hospital were collected from electronic medical records. The characteristics of consultations and changes to workflow due to the laboratory SOP amendment were analyzed. Turnaround time of the consultation and specimen culture were evaluated as an indicator of workflow efficiency.
A total of 971 consultations were evaluated during the study period. The most common purposes for consultations were microbe species identification and antimicrobial susceptibility tests. Among the minimal identification reports, the proportions of consultations were below 5%. The number of consultations had increased substantially. However, the turnaround time of consultation and specimen culture showed declining trends.
With the introduction of the consultation system, the workload for species identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of colonizing microbes could be minimized. This research provides an example of work efficiency management for laboratory procedures based on an SOP amendment.


Microbiology; Laboratory; Minimal identification; Consultation; Turnaround time
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