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CytoJournal 2009,  6:11

Assessment of quality of data provided on Pap test requisitions: Implications for quality of care and patient safety

Mercy Hospital Laboratory, 1000 Mineral Point Ave., PO Box 5003, Janesville, WI 53547, USA

Correspondence Address:
Sonya Naryshkin
Mercy Hospital Laboratory, 1000 Mineral Point Ave., PO Box 5003, Janesville, WI 53547
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1742-6413.53360

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Background: The reliability of patient history and clinical information on Pap test requisitions has been questioned but not previously objectively determined. The effect of incomplete/inaccurate information on quality of patient care has not been previously quantified. Our objectives were (1) to find out how clinicians and their assistants viewed the requisition slip, and whether they understood the reasons for supplying the information requested, (2) to measure the completeness and accuracy of information on the requisition slips, and (3) to determine whether the clinical information and patient history provided on Pap test requisitions could be relied upon to accurately assign a Pap test to the laboratory's "high-risk rescreen" pool. Methods: Clinicians and their assistants were surveyed. A total of 899 consecutive Pap test requisition slips were reviewed. Patient history and clinical information from the slips were compared to data from our laboratory information system and/or electronic patient medical records. Results: Most survey respondents felt that proper completion of requisitions was important, but only 17% of clinicians and less staff realized that negative high-risk Pap tests underwent a quality assurance rescreen. Clinicians and/or staff recorded the last menstrual period, specimen source, and clinical information on the requisition slips 96%, 97%, and 88% of the time, respectively. Of 695 Pap tests with applicable computerized records, 172 (25%) qualified for high-risk rescreen based upon information provided on the requisition slip alone. An additional 52 Pap tests (7%), or 23% of the total high-risk Pap tests were discovered to be of high risk only after review of the electronic records. Conclusions: Clinicians and staff were receptive to discussions concerning the completion of requisition slips, but laboratory expectations could be better communicated. Requisition slips were properly completed with a high frequency, but the check boxes did not elicit all the information expected, so revision was necessary. The high accuracy of the completion of requisition slips permitted 77% of high-risk Pap tests to be identified via the requisition slip alone. Our findings challenge the conventional anecdotal impressions of "notoriously unreliable" information on Pap test requisition slips, but our experience may not be applicable to other settings.


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