The measurement of test turnaround times (TATs) involves consideration of multiple sequential steps that make up the pathology test process.42 The start time for TAT calculation can be defined at a variety of time points including the time a pathology test is ordered by the authorised clinician, the time a specimen is collected, received at the CSR of the pathology service, when the laboratory test process was undertaken, right through to the time a result was issued or a clinician accessed the result.8 TAT provides one measure of the effectiveness of a laboratory, provided it is linked to clinical need, and is often used as a key indicator of laboratory performance.43 44 TAT has the potential to affect the length of stay in wards and the ED, where delays in obtaining pathology test results may delay diagnosis, treatment and the transfer or discharge of the patient from ED.45-47

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The impact of the implementation of electronic ordering on hospital pathology services(PDF 2082 KB)