Newborn Screening Proper Sample Collection

Problem:

Thanks to the efforts of SCHA and DHEC’s “On Time Every Time” initiative, South Carolina’s hospitals have made dramatic improvements in gathering newborn screening blood samples in a timely manner. However, many of the samples arrive at a DHEC lab with insufficient specimens for testing. This requires DHEC to contact the hospital for a second sample, which delays the potential diagnosis of a life-threatening condition.

The Goal:

South Carolina’s unsatisfactory specimen rate was 4%. The goal is to bring that number down as much as possible.

Method & Implementation:

In order to reduce the number of insufficient samples, SCHA and DHEC partnered to offer annual hospital trainings on proper specimen collecting; created a “Train the Trainer” workbook review to give hospital staff all of the tools to train appropriately; and added additional QI measures to individualized hospital report cards to take sample collection into account. 

Results:

One year into the initiative, South Carolina hospitals have already seen a nearly 25% drop in the number of unsatisfactory specimens submitted to DHEC labs, going from 4% to 3.09% by the end of 2017.   

To learn more about First Time - Every Time efforts, a Q&A with DHEC's Dana Smith is available here.

For more information about this story or to tell us about your own best practices, email us at stories@scha.org.

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