[Histonet] tracking turnaround time of intraoperative consultations

Della Speranza, Vinnie dellav <@t> musc.edu
Tue Jun 23 15:01:48 CDT 2009

CAP utilizes the term "intraoperative consultation" to describe the utilization of frozen (cryo) sections to provide a rapid diagnosis back to a surgeon in the operating room.

The CAP checklist requires a turnaround time of 20 minutes for single specimen submitted for intraoperative consultation. My understanding is that the turnaround time is measured from the time the sample is received in the laboratory until the time the report is issued to the surgeon.

Is anyone tracking or measuring turnaround time from the time the consult is "ordered" in/by the Operating Room until the time the result is issued?
If so, would you share how you are able to determine the time the "test was ordered"  and to what extent you have elicited the cooperation of Operating Room personnel.

We receive many complex surgical cases and our intraoperative consults frequently consist of multiple surgical samples from the same patient arriving in the lab at the same time. Our head and neck cases, for example, consist of 6-8 biopsies that are sent to pathology at the same time. In this example, we have no knowledge of which biopsies was excised first or last and because the surgeon chooses to allow multiple samples to accumulate before sending them all off to the lab, it's clear that the true "pre-analytical" time will not be the same for each sample.

If you are tracking turnaround from the time of order to the time of result reporting, how are you determining what is an acceptable turnaround time? CAP's standard is the only national standard I am aware of for frozen section turnaround times.

Vinnie Della Speranza
Manager for Anatomic Pathology Services
Medical University of South Carolina
165 Ashley Avenue  Suite 309
Charleston, South Carolina 29425
Tel: (843) 792-6353
Fax: (843) 792-8974

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