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Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program chemistry test results

Oct. 3, 2012

Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program chemistry test results

Hamilton - Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton have been working diligently to address a concern with lab results on chemistry tests performed in the past six months at the Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program (HRLMP). Although there are always a low rate of variation at all laboratories, the lab was concerned that its rate may have been higher than expected.

As a result, and with patient safety as the top priority, corrective measures have been taken, and physicians informed of the concern. In addition, an independent third-party quality assurance review was initiated to look at chemistry test procedures at HRLMP.

A verbal summary of the review confirmed variation in automated testing and validated the proactive approach that the lab has taken to ensure the highest quality practices are in place. Interventions include implementing additional quality control measures and preventative maintenance procedures. The lab has been in the process of replacing its chemistry testing systems for the last 18 months and until the installation is complete at the end of November, these interventions will remain in place.
We believe that this problem has existed for at least the past six months, and that the frequency of incorrect results may have increased over time. A letter sent to physicians on Sept. 20 informed physicians of this issue and asked them going forward to watch for unusual results in patients’ chemistry tests, and to call the lab with any questions. No patient concerns have been identified by physicians to the hospitals to date.

The issue is isolated to chemistry tests and does not involve other tests, such as pathology, genetic testing, microbiology, hematology and many specialized chemistry tests. Click here to view a complete list.

Medical experts have reassured us that the potential risk to patients during this time was low. It is important to note that chemistry results are interpreted in the context of a patient’s medical condition and care, and not in isolation. The patients that may have been affected are those who were in hospital at the time or in outpatient hospital clinics. Consultation with physician leaders confirmed that the risk to patients is low, and supported informing the physicians who order the tests, and instituting the extra measures in the labs.

“Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton are healthcare organizations built on cultures of quality, safety and an unwavering commitment to the patients we serve,” said Rebecca Repa, Integrated Vice President Diagnostic Imaging & Laboratory Services for both HHS and SJHH.

“It is essential to healthcare professionals and the community that we meet the highest standards and keep our community informed of the work we do to achieve these standards. We will learn from this process to ensure the very best quality control measures are embedded in our practices.”

The lab continues to keep the physicians updated. Patients with questions about this issue should call their family doctor.

Additional Information

HRLMP Blood Chemistry Test List
VIDEO: Dr. Mark Crowther, Chief of Laboratory Medicine, speaks about chemistry test results in Hamilton hospitals
Q&A: Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program chemistry test results
Notice to physicians re: chemistry test results from the Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program

For further information, contact:

Agnes Bongers, Sr. Public Relations Specialist
Hamilton Health Sciences
905-521-2100 ext 76056

Lindsay Whelan, Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
905-522-1155 ext 33156
Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

Disclaimer: Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) offers Google Translate to better facilitate access for our community. However, HHS makes no claims regarding the accuracy of translations. Any and all health information should be verified by a health care professional.