Using NPQR to Improve Patient Care and Satisfaction: A Focus on Pre-analytical Processes

Mar 26, 2018

The majority of errors that occur in the medical laboratory originate from pre-analytical processes. This is frustrating for pathologists and lab professionals since the laboratory is often dependent upon submitting departments to avoid these types of errors. A pre-analytical error can arise during patient preparation, test order entry, request completion, patient identification, specimen collection or transport, or specimen receipt in the laboratory, making this a difficult issue for many laboratories to tackle.

The downstream effects of pre-analytical errors are increased healthcare costs and decreased patient satisfaction. The healthcare system must be more diligent in applying scientific knowledge to reduce errors in this testing phase.

Through the National Pathology Quality Registry (NPQR), the first pathology-specific, institution-based registry, ASCP is providing pathologists and laboratory professionals with the ability to leverage LIS data to measure and reduce the number of pre-analytical errors in diagnostic testing.

A team of ASCP experts who deal with these issues on a daily basis have developed a set of consensus-based recommendations to address pre-analytical errors. The NPQR provides participants with a way to capture and communicate information on pre-analytical errors, translate this information into an action plan, and effectively operationalize these recommendations. Once baseline data is examined, ASCP provides educational support and tools to help facilitate downstream changes that ultimately improve patient care. These support materials are also able to satisfy CME, MOC and MIPS requirements, providing a practical resource for multiple member needs.

“The NPQR is a tool to help pathologists and laboratory professionals identify trends in pre-analytical errors that they see in their daily practice. It helps the laboratory to pinpoint where the best opportunites for improvement are, so that a plan to improve performance can be crafted,” said Ali Brown, MD, FASCP, Medical Director of the NPQR.

Another benefit of the NPQR is that participants can use a subset of the registry’s measures to fulfill the requirements of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ MIPS program, a quality payment program that rewards or penalizes providers based on their performance. ASCP developed the NPQR to help pathologists come out on top.  To learn more about the benefits of participating in the NPQR, click here. For more information and descriptions of the NPQR's measures click here.