Assessing Your Testing Process

Toolkit for Improving Your Office Testing Process

Select for the Assessing Your Testing Process Survey and scoring. The survey will help staff and physicians to share their perceptions about problems in your office system for managing tests. The survey also asks staff and physicians to consider the potential harm caused by problems with your office testing system and errors related to the testing process.

Using the Tool

  • Everyone in your office should complete this survey anonymously.
  • Ask each person to circle the numbers that best indicate his/her view of the frequency and severity of errors in your office.

Scoring the Responses

  • Scoring can be done either by those completing the survey or by a member of the leadership team.
  • To score each survey, multiply the "frequency" score by the "harm" score to get a total score for each task.
    • If a respondent fails to indicate a frequency or harm score, substitute a 'Don't know/Not applicable' score of 1 for the missing score.
    • If only 'Don't know/Not applicable' is selected for a task, assign a total score of 1.
  • Write the score in the total column on the far right of the survey.

Using the Scoring Sheet Photo depicts a man and woman standing together.

  • Number each survey.
  • Put each survey over the scoring sheet and line up the tops of the pages (Figure 4).
  • Copy the total scores from each survey into a single column on the scoring sheet.
  • Add all the entries in a row and put that total in the right-hand column of the scoring sheet to represent the office total.

Figure 4. Using the Assessing Your Testing Process Survey and Scoring Sheet

Figure shows a sample copy of the Assessing Your Testing Process Survey and Scoring Sheet.

Interpreting the Results

  • The highest scores for "office total" show areas where staff have identified the greatest risks in your office.
  • Many staff responses of "Don't know/ Not applicable" for a specific task may indicate an area for further discussion.
  • Share the results and discuss them during a staff meeting.
  • Use this information to identify an area that you and your office staff and physicians will address.
  • After identifying a problem, you can use the Planning for Improvements Tool to design a change in your testing process.

Assessing Risk in Testing

We know that:

  • The risk of an event is related to its frequency and the likely severity of harm.
  • Balancing these two aspects of risk can be challenging.
    • More common events with less severe harm are easier to overlook, as the risk to patients can be underestimated.
    • The risk to patients of an uncommon event that may cause severe harm (a sentinel event) is often overestimated.
  • It is important to stay focused on office systems in managing risk.

Assessing Your Testing Process Survey

This survey is used to collect staff estimates of the frequency of errors and their potential degree of harm.

Describe your experience in the testing process:

  • Circle the number that you feel most accurately describes the frequency of errors for each step.
  • Circle the number that you feel most accurately describes the harm associated with the error.

Figure shows an example of an office testing process flowchart, with the process moving left to right, as follows: Test ordered, test performed inside/outside the office, test results tracked, test results returned to office and clinician, test results reviewed by clinician, test results documented and filed, patient notified of results, patient monitored through follow-up.

Tasks
where
errors
may
occur
How often does this happen?What is the usual harm for patients?Don't
know/
Not
applic-
able
Total
Rarely
(Less
than
once a
month)
Occasion-
ally
(Once a
month)
Fre-
quently
(2 or
more
times
per
month)
NoneMildMod-
erate
Severe
1. Ordered
test not
done
12312341 
2. Test
performed
incorrect-
ly
12312341 
3. Test
results
not
logged/
tracked
12312341 
4. Test
results
not
returned
to the
physician
12312341 
5. Physician
does not
review
all
results
12312341 
6. Test
results
not en-
tered in
patient's
chart
12312341 
7. Patients
not no-
tified of
all test
results
12312341 
8. Patients
with ab-
normal
results
not moni-
tored
through
followup
12312341 

Assessing Your Testing Process Survey Scoring Sheet

Date: _____________ Survey No. _________________

Scoring the responses:

  1. Number each survey.
  2. Put each survey over the scoring sheet and line up the tops of the pages.
  3. Copy the total scores from each survey into a single column on the scoring sheet.
  4. Add all the entries in a row and put that total in the right hand column on the scoring sheet (represents the office total).
  5. Refer to the instructions to interpret results.
Survey
No.
12345678910111213141516Office
Total
1.                 
2.                 
3.                 
4.                 
5.                 
6.                 
7.                 
8.                 
Page last reviewed August 2013
Internet Citation: Assessing Your Testing Process: Toolkit for Improving Your Office Testing Process. August 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/quality-resources/tools/office-testing-toolkit/officetesting-toolkit6.html