College of American Pathologists

  QT17 - Outpatient Order Entry Errors


Updated December 15, 2008

Outpatient Order Entry Errors QT17
Order accuracy bears an obvious relationship to the quality of laboratory testing. When the laboratory fails to complete a requested test the diagnostic evaluation is delayed, potentially extending a patient’s hospital stay and prolonging therapy. When the laboratory completes a test that was not requested, the cost of care increases and patients may be subjected to unnecessary phlebotomy.

Monitor Objective
Measure the incidence of incorrectly interpreted and entered outpatient physician test orders, compare performance across institutions, and track performance over time.

Data Collection
On six pre-selected days per month, eight outpatient requisitions or order sheets will be compared to the orders entered into the laboratory’s information system to determine if any order entry errors occurred. Order entry error categories include incorrect physician information and incorrect, extra, or missed tests.

Performance Indicators

  • Outpatient Order Entry Error Rate (%)
  • Order Entry Error Rates by Category (%)

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


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