College of American Pathologists

  QT10 - Critical Values Reporting


Updated December 15, 2008

Critical Values Reporting QT10
Laboratory critical values are defined as results requiring immediate notification to the physician or caregiver for necessary patient evaluation or treatment. While critical value notification has been a routine practice in laboratory medicine for many years, recent regulations from agencies and accreditors such as CMS, The Joint Commission, and CAP have mandated that laboratories develop and implement an alert system for critical values. Use this monitor to document compliance with your laboratory’s alert plan.

Monitor Objective
Evaluate the documentation of successful critical values reporting in the general laboratory for both inpatients and outpatients according to the laboratory’s policy.

Data Collection
On six predetermined days per month, participants will evaluate inpatient and outpatient critical values for the designated sections. Data collection will include general chemistry, hematology, and coagulation analytes on the critical values list. Retrospectively, participants will record the total number of critical values monitored and if there was documentation of notification. This monitor will exclude microbiology critical values, cardiac markers, drugs of abuse, therapeutic drug levels, urinalysis, blood gases, point-of-care tests, tests performed at reference labs, and critical values on discharged patients.

Performance Indicators

  • Total Critical Values Reporting Rate (%)
  • Inpatient Critical Values Reporting Rate (%)
  • Outpatient Critical Values Reporting Rate (%)

Input forms for quarterly data will be sent to participants approximately three weeks prior to the quarter.


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