An expensive slip-up — Lab errors cost between $200 & $2,000

Practice Management

Laboratory errors result in costly consequences, based on a Hempstead, N.Y.-based Northwell Health Laboratories study, according to Medscape. Northwell Health Laboratories includes a core lab and 16 hospital labs performing more than 19 million billable tests, annually.

The study determined the average cost of an error by assessing the number of person-hours necessary to remedy the error.


Here are five things to know:


1. One lost specimen that is never found results in an average cost of $584 and 18.5 wasted hours. If a laboratory experiences cumulative errors over three months, they may be in deep with costs of up to $20,000.


2. Even if a lost specimen is found, laboratories still lose 11.7 hours and about $401.


3. Improperly collected specimen requiring STAT retesting results in an average of 3.8 hours of lost time and costs about $1,599. If this error is repeated over a three-month period, this costs a laboratory an average of $2,375.


4. When laboratories place the wrong blood in a tube, 15.9 hours are wasted as well as an average of $563.


5. The researchers hoped to raise awareness about the measured costs of poor quality with their study.  


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