The response of total testing process in clinical laboratory medicine to COVID-19 pandemic

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Eren F., Ergin Tuncay M., Firatoguz E., Neselioglu S., Erel O.

Biochemia Medica, vol.31, no.2, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 31 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.11613/bm.2021.020713
  • Journal Name: Biochemia Medica
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Central & Eastern European Academic Source (CEEAS), EMBASE, MEDLINE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: COVID-19, quality indicator, pandemic, total testing process
  • Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University Affiliated: Yes


© by Croatian Society of Medical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine.Introduction: Following a pandemic, laboratory medicine is vulnerable to laboratory errors due to the stressful and high workloads. We aimed to examine how laboratory errors may arise from factors, e.g., flexible working order, staff displacement, changes in the number of tests, and samples will reflect on the total test process (TTP) during the pandemic period. Materials and methods: In 12 months, 6 months before and during the pandemic, laboratory errors were assessed via quality indicators (QIs) related to TTP phases. QIs were grouped as pre-, intra- and postanalytical. The results of QIs were expressed in defect percentages and sigma, evaluated with 3 levels of performance quality: 25th, 50th and 75th percentile values. Results: When the pre- and during pandemic periods were compared, the sigma value of the samples not received was significantly lower in prepandemic group than during pandemic group (4.7σ vs. 5.4σ, P = 0.003). The sigma values of samples transported inappropriately and haemolysed samples were significantly higher in pre-pandemic period than during pandemic (5.0σ vs. 4.9σ, 4.3σ vs. 4.1σ; P = 0.046 and P = 0.044, respectively). Sigma value of tests with inappropriate IQC performances was lower during pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic period (3.3σ vs. 3.2σ, P = 0.081). Sigma value of the reports delivered outside the specified time was higher during pandemic than pre-pandemic period (3.0σ vs. 3.1σ, P = 0.030). Conclusion: In all TTP phases, some quality indicators improved while others regressed during the pandemic period. It was observed that preanalytical phase was affected more by the pandemic.