Did You Know?

  • In 2017 Medical Laboratory Professionals produced 13.8 billion laboratory tests, and this number has been increasing by 5-10% each year
  • Every nine minutes, someone in a U.S. hospital dies due to a healthcare related medical diagnosis that was wrong or delayed
  • It is likely that most of us will experience at least one diagnostic error in our lifetime, sometimes with devastating consequences
  • Each year, diagnostic errors affect 12 million adults in outpatient settings and are the most common cause of medical errors reported by patients
  • Preventable diagnostic errors harm more than 4 million Americans and contribute to an estimated 40,000-80,000 American deaths per year

Patient Safety in Laboratory Medicine Matters

impact of laboratory medicine on patient safety

Patient Safety-Centered Laboratory Services

Patient safety-centered laboratory services assure care that avoids harm to patients, enhances safe care outcomes through error prevention, continuous process improvement and that appropriate levels of care are provided to each patient served.  The aim of Laboratory Medicine and its practitioners is to provide services to improve patients’ lives during the total testing process.

Medical Laboratory Professionals are stewards of patient safety and are responsible to advocate a culture of safety defined by the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine – IOM) as safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable practice.  Medical Laboratory Professionals must also incorporate each of the National Academy of Medicine’s patient safety competencies into their daily practice:

5 competencies

The National Academy of Medicine’s 2015 report, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, is directed to all healthcare services that provide diagnostic testing.  This report:

  • acknowledges the critical role of pathology and laboratory professionals in the diagnostic process
  • documents that patient safety, improvement in the diagnostic process and reducing diagnostic error is the responsibility of all healthcare professionals, including laboratory professionals.

Laboratory Medicine and Medical Laboratory Science professionals are critical to patient safety and improved care.

The Patient Safety Committee maintains these resources.