What is Turnaround Time?
The turnaround time, also termed as TAT is the time taken for the delivery of a service. In medical labs, turnaround time is the amount of time from patient registration to report delivery. This is used as a metric as it is vital to measure a lab’s efficiency at service delivery.
Higher the Turnaround Time, poor is the quality of service delivery considered. Therefore, for diagnostic centres, calculating, improving and managing this metric is the key to provide timely delivery to patients.
How to Calculate TAT for your Tests?
The turnaround time is measured from the time the sample is collected to the time report is delivered. This parameter varies for each test since diagnostics and pathology is a wide spectrum. Therefore, to measure it for a wide range of tests, having a diagnostics lab solution becomes very important.
There are three principal parts of this metric namely -
- Pre-analytical TAT - The time between patient registration at sample collection to sample accessioning is measured in a lab as pre-analytical TAT
- Analytical TAT - The time required to process a sample is called the analytical TAT
- Post-analytical TAT - The time required for report generation, interpretation, approval and delivery is termed as post-analytical TAT
All three parameters can be recorded for every test to create a master list. These recordings can be compared to the system generated TAT and their average is used each time to compare and record/measure them daily. This is called an expected TAT.
What happens when TAT gets Exceeded?
The turnaround time may vary depending on the processes and machines (analysers), as per sample type, total or partial lab automation and many other reasons. Despite considering the above factors for calculation, if a lab exceeds its expected TAT, it indicates a problem. Hence, recording and measuring this parameter in your system is highly essential.
An Expected TAT helps with the following -
- Decision Making - Knowing the TAT exceeded tests, labs can monitor the depending aspects and make better decisions on how to optimise it.
- Improves Process Cycle & Prioritisation - TAT exceeded reports must be prioritized to fix issues at the earliest.
Clinical & Business Advantages of Optimised TAT
Clinical Advantage of Turnaround Time Control
- Quick turnaround time helps labs to offer clinical advantage especially to hospitals facilitating faster diagnosis to patients that require immediate care
- Clinicians can attend to patients without any delay when reports are delivered digitally, on time
- Improved TAT fastens report delivery to patients seeking medical help
Business Advantage of Optimised Turnaround Time
- Improves and Doubles your Throughput; enhancing performance
- Improves testing capacities; improving revenue cycles
- Enhances the overall experience of doctors and patients