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Pathology processes and emergency department length of stay: the impact of change

Andrew Georgiou and Johanna I Westbrook
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (6): 359.
Published online: 21 September 2009

To the Editor: Francis and colleagues revealed a significant 29-minute decrease in the median emergency department (ED) length of stay and reductions in mean turnaround times for full blood count requests following the redesign of pathology processes.1 Laboratory performance and clinician satisfaction are intrinsically bound up with the timeliness of test results, not least because of their effects on patient diagnosis and treatment. The association between test turnaround times and ED length of stay is difficult to decipher. The reasons for this, as pointed out by Francis et al, include the many potential variables that contribute to patient length of stay in EDs. Turnaround times can also vary dramatically according to laboratory operating procedures and work processes. Nevertheless, there is a strong imperative to monitor these indicators as contributors to designing effective interventions to improve the quality and outcomes of patient care.

  • Andrew Georgiou
  • Johanna I Westbrook

  • Health Informatics Research and Evaluation Unit, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: a.georgiou@usyd.edu.au

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