A follow-up audit of the completion of bone marrow specimen request forms at an academic laboratory

Keywords: bone marrow examination, laboratory request forms, preanalytical phase, haematology, clinical audit

Abstract

Background: In order to ensure that patients receive individualised treatment following bone marrow biopsy, it is necessary for clinicians to provide complete clinical information on bone marrow request forms (BMRFs). An audit of BMRFs six years previously showed poor completion, especially with regard to filling in full blood count results, transfusion history, medication history, information about the clinical examination and HIV status. This lead the laboratory to design a new bone marrow specimen request form. We did a follow-up audit to see if the new form had helped to improve the completion rates. 

Methods: We compared 400 forms to the 357 that were audited in 2013. The following details were recorded: date and time of collection, patient demographics, requesting doctor’s details, clinical information, current medication, transfusion history and HIV status, and details of the procedure completed by technologists, registrars and pathologists.

Results: The 2019 follow-up audit showed significant improvements in the completion of the transfusion history, as well as the clinical examination and HIV status. Registrars and pathologists signed off forms regularly. The completion of patient demographic details, and requesting doctors’ names and telephone numbers worsened.

Discussion and conclusion: We recommend that the form be simplified so the requesting doctors only need to tick yes or no, in a tick-box format, if a full blood count has been done in the preceding 24 hours. There needs to be a dedicated space for the hospital and laboratory stickers. Only the name and telephone number of one doctor should be requested. This doctor should preferably be the most senior doctor involved with patient care. All referring laboratories and hospitals will be consulted before updating the form. Unfortunately, it seems that the only way to force the completion of request forms is to introduce an electronic order entry system that does not accept incomplete forms.

The full article is available at https://doi.org/10.36303/JMLSTSA.2020.2.2.58

Author Biographies

L Budding, University of the Free State

Department of Anatomical Pathology, School of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State and National Health Laboratory Service, South Africa

M Coetzee, University of the Free State

Department of Haematology and Cell Biology, School of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State and National Health Laboratory Service, South Africa

G Joubert, University of the Free State

Department of Biostatistics, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, South Africa

Published
2020-12-01