Evaluation of request forms submitted to the haematology laboratory in a Ghanaian tertiary hospital
Background: Laboratory request forms provide information about the laboratory test being requested for. They carry demographic data and other information such as location of patient, laboratory number, doctor’s name, signature of the doctor, telephone number of the requesting doctor. Omission of information on the forms may lead to laboratory errors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the level of completion of laboratory request forms at the haematology department of a Ghanaian tertiary hospital. Methods: Three thousand request forms submitted to the haematology department between January and April 2010 were retrieved and studied. The information provided on each request form was recorded in a spread sheet and analyzed. Results: The patient’s age and sex were missing in 25.6% and 32.7% of the forms respectively. About half of the request forms did not have the patient’s location. No clinical detail was provided on 22.7% of the forms. Doctors were more likely to sign their request forms and provide a name but they all failed to provide an address or a contact telephone number. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that, the standard of completion of request forms was poor. Essential information required on the forms was often missing. This can lead to limited advice given by laboratory physicians and may increase the potential for errors. Conversely, provision of all the information needed on the forms will aid laboratory diagnosis and enhance patient care and save time and resources. There should be closer interaction between clinicians and laboratory personnel to improve quality of services.
Key words: Evaluation, request forms, haematology Unit, Ghana, Tertiary Hospital