In response to the pressures of cost reduction, we established and evaluated a carefully integrated program to deliver clinical laboratory services more promptly and efficiently to the intensive care units (ICUs). The new protocol reduced the steps and turnaround time from ordering tests by physicians to reporting results by as much as 80% on all ICUs, permitting significant reductions in personnel (exceeding $400,000 per year). For the surgical ICU there were also fewer blood collections (mean preprotocol: 7.0 per patient per 24 h; mean last 12 months: 6.0; P = 0.002). The volume of blood collected fell from 8.1 to 3.5 mL per collection, primarily following an emphasis on small containers. Consequently, the amount of blood taken from each surgical ICU patient decreased from 56 to 21 mL per 24 h (P <0.001).
- laboratory management
- sample collection