Quality indicators are tools that allow the quantification of quality in each of the segments of health care in comparison with selected criteria. They can be defined as an objective measure used to assess the critical health care segments such as, for instance, patient safety, effectiveness, impartiality, timeliness, efficiency, etc. In laboratory medicine it is possible to develop quality indicators or the measure of feasibility for any stage of the total testing process. The total process or cycle of investigation has traditionally been separated into three phases, the pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical phase. Some authors also include a »pre-pre« and a »post-post« analytical phase, in a manner that allows to separate them from the activities of sample collection and transportation (pre-analytical phase) and reporting (post-analytical phase). In the year 2008 the IFCC formed within its Education and Management Division (EMD) a task force called Laboratory Errors and Patient Safety (WG-LEPS) with the aim of promoting the investigation of errors in laboratory data, collecting data and developing a strategy to improve patient safety. This task force came up with the Model of Quality Indicators (MQI) for the total testing process (TTP) including the pre-, intra- and post-analytical phases of work. The pre-analytical phase includes a set of procedures that are difficult to define because they take place at different locations and at different times. Errors that occur at this stage often become obvious later in the analytical and post-analytical phases. For these reasons the identification of quality indicators is necessary in order to avoid potential errors in all the steps of the pre-analytical phase.
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