The systems-based management of laboratory test ordering and results handling is a significant patient safety concern in primary care internationally. In this pilot study, we describe the testing of a method to systematically measure and monitor compliance with basic safe performance in this area in different European primary care settings. The findings show high overall compliance with the safe system measures developed although the data indicates performance variation within and between the different systems audited, which suggests that aspects of the reliability (and safety) of these systems could be improved by care teams. However, the overall utility of the method is still to be determined and this will require testing on a greater scale in more diverse practices with larger samples of patients and blood tests, and using different technology support systems.
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