Lab Test Values | Priority Definitions & Critical Values

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Priority Definitions & Critical Values

Critical Values

The laboratory recognizes that certain test values may be of immediate importance in the maintenance of quality patient care. These test values are referred to as critical values. In accordance with established laboratory policy and National Patient Safety Goals, all critical values will be phoned directly to the nursing station, physician, physician office, or nursing home in charge of the patient. Click here to view these critical values.

Priority Definitions

STAT

Priority designates a laboratory procedure vital to the immediate medical management of the patient. The STAT priority will be drawn within 15 minutes and reported by a CLS/CLT within 60 minutes. All locations, which do not receive immediate prints, will require a STAT phone call to report the results. All phoned STAT reports will be documented using the Pathnet "PHONE" template.

ASAP (AP)

This priority is used from requests that need to be completed sooner than the TODAY priority, but are not STAT. ASAP orders will be drawn within 1 hour and resulted within 2 hours of order time.

TODAY (TD)

This type of request should be utilized when the physician does not need the test results immediately but would like results available on the same day. TODAY draws are scheduled hourly throughout the day, between 0700 and 2200 hours.

AM

This priority is used when the physician requests "Early AM." AM draws are routinely performed between 0500 and 0730 hours.

TIMED (TS)

The Timed Studies priority should be used when the specimen needs to be collected at a specific time or at specific intervals; for example, drug levels, bilirubin, cardiac markers, etc.

CALL BACK/FAX (CB or FX)

This priority is used only for Outpatient and Reference Laboratory patients when the physician requests that the test be performed routinely, but would like the test results phoned or faxed to the physician's office or the physician directly. Tests ordered using this priority will be phoned or faxed by a Customer Service Representative periodically throughout the day. If a Call Back result is critical, it will be phoned and footnoted by a CLS/CLT using the Pathnet "PHONE" template FAX (FX).

NURSE COLLECT (NS or NC)

Anytime a sample is obtained by anyone other than Lab staff, the sample is considered to be "nurse collect" (NC). This priority is used when the specimen will be collected by the nursing staff. It may also be used in conjunction with timed specimens. There are now 5 Nurse Collect priorities that allow you to choose the testing priority required. These include: NC/ST, NC/AP, NC/AM, NC/TD and NC/TS. Select the priority that applies in addition to nurse collect. Under the field that is entitled "nurse collect," select "no" whether the patient is a nurse collect or not.

(All priorities for ICU/CVICU patients are nurse collect. ICU/CVICU should take care to order the appropriate priority for next day labs when patients are anticipated to transfer out.