Lab Med Online.  2018 Apr;8(2):52-55. 10.3343/lmo.2018.8.2.52.

Reducing the Reporting Time by Improving Laboratory Processing for Inpatient Routine Chemistry Tests

  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Uijeongbu St. Mary's Hospital, Uijeongbu, Korea.
  • 2Department of Laboratory Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


The returning time of inpatient specimen analysis is usually slow because phlebotomists deliver all the collected specimens at the end of their work cycle. In addition, manual specimen reception further delays the reporting time and imposes a heavy workload on the technical staff, thus compromising effectiveness. Therefore, we have created an automated specimen reception system to tackle testing delays and enhance the efficiency and quality of specimen collection and handling.
In May 2015, the pre-analytical processing of inpatient samples was renovated. We automated the specimen reception in parallel with barcode printing and introduced pneumatic tubes to deliver samples for routine chemistry tests. We compared the reporting time of the automated system with that of the manual system and analyzed the distribution pattern of the specimens according to handling time.
The median reporting time was advanced by 41 minutes, from 09:33 AM to 08:52 AM for the manual and automated reception, respectively. Moreover, with the reduction in hands-on time, the blood specimens reached the laboratory immediately after phlebotomy, thereby improving the processing efficiency by spreading out the interval during which the specimens arrived in the laboratory. Additionally, the new system allowed the identification of the phlebotomist who collected the specimens and tracking the specimens from collection to test result.
With the introduction of our automatic reception system, the reporting time was considerably reduced. Therefore, the satisfaction of the clinician and the technical staff was improved.


Automated reception; Inpatient laboratory; Reporting time; Workflow

MeSH Terms

Specimen Handling
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