A nationwide quality assurance program can describe standards for the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine

Peter J. Howamtz, Gerald G. Hoffman, Ron B. Schifman, Richard J. Zarbo, Steven J. Steindel, Keith Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


An important component of quality assessment is the analysis of peer group comparisons, although little data are available for evaluation. We developed and tested six interinstitutional quality indicators related to Pathology and Laboratory Medicine among 36 institutions. Results showed that the mean frequency of intraoperative frozen section consultations (6.0%), sensitivity of fine needle aspiration cytology diagnosis (87%), nosocomial infections (5.0%) and average cross-match to transfusion ratio (2.1%) was comparable with previous studies, but the range of values was large. The median stat laboratory turnaround time of approximately 1 hr for CSF cell count, glucose, protein and gram smear was considerably longer than expected from previous investigations, and was longer for larger institutions. Analysis of serious laboratory reporting errors showed the lowest number detected by individuals working in transfusion medicine, and highest numbers among hematology workers. We conclude that interinstitutional comparison of data from quality assurance programs can be used to describe performance standards related to the quality and effectiveness of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-256
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood usage
  • Fine needle aspiration cytology
  • Nosocomial infections
  • Quality assurance
  • Quality frozen sections
  • Quality improvement
  • Report errors
  • Test turnaround times

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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