Enhancing patient safety with an electronic results checking system in a large HIV outpatient service

Academic Article


  • Objective: To establish whether an automated electronic tracker system for reporting blood results would expedite clinician review of abnormal results in HIV-positive outpatients and to pilot the use of this system in routine clinical practice. Setting: An outpatient service in central London providing specialist HIV-related care to 3900 HIV-positive patients. Design: A comparison of the time taken from sampling to identification and clinician review of abnormal blood results for biochemical tests between the original paper-based checking system and an automated electronic system during a 3-week pilot. Results: Of 513 patients undergoing one or more blood tests, 296 (57.7%) had one or more biochemical abnormalities identified by the electronic checking system. Out of 371 biochemical abnormalities, 307 (82.7%) were identified simultaneously by the paper-based system. Of the 307, 33 (10.7%) were classified as urgent, 130 (42.3%) non-urgent and 144 (46.9%) as not clinically significant. The median interval between sampling and receipt of results was 1 (interquartile range 1-2) vs 4 days (interquartile range 3-5), P<0.0001; clinician review 3 (interquartile range 1-4) vs 3 days (interquartile range 3-6), P<0.037; and review of non-urgent abnormalities by the regular clinician 2 (interquartile range 1-4) vs 10 days (interquartile range 9-12), P=0.136, for electronic and paper-based systems respectively. Seven (11%) of the missing paper-based system results were classified as urgent. The electronic system missed three abnormalities as a result of a software processing error which was subsequently corrected. Conclusions: The electronic tracker system allows faster identification of biochemical abnormalities and allowed faster review of these results by clinicians. The pilot study allowed for a software error to be identified and corrected before full implementation. The system has since been integrated successfully into routine clinical practice. © 2013 MA Healthcare Ltd.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Nugent DB; Uthayakumar N; Ferrand RA; Edwards SG; Miller R; Benn P
  • Start Page

  • 465
  • End Page

  • 468
  • Volume

  • 74
  • Issue

  • 8