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Assessing the Competence of Specimen-Processing Personnel

Daniel E. Haun MT(ASCP)H, Andrea Zeringue MT(ASCP), Argie Leach MHS, MT(ASCP)SH, Angela Foley MS, MT(ASCP)
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/8Y66-NCN2-J8NH-U66R 633-637 First published online: 1 November 2000


The widely reported “epidemic of medical error” has resulted in calls to find systems that prevent, detect, and correct errors. Our incident investigations indicated that specimen-processing personnel often facilitated negative patient outcomes by failing to prioritize work or modify rules in critical situations. Our team developed a knowledge and problem-solving assessment for specimen-processing personnel in order to identify opportunities for training. We included a self-assessment and found that poor performers grossly overestimated their knowledge and problem-solving ability. This study illustrates the utility of using competency challenges to identify opportunities for improvement.