Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 154–162 | Cite as

Errors in the Extra-Analytical Phases of Clinical Chemistry Laboratory Testing

  • Annalise E. Zemlin
Original Article


The total testing process consists of various phases from the pre-preanalytical to the post-postanalytical phase, the so-called brain-to-brain loop. With improvements in analytical techniques and efficient quality control programmes, most laboratory errors now occur in the extra-analytical phases. There has been recent interest in these errors with numerous publications highlighting their effect on service delivery, patient care and cost. This interest has led to the formation of various working groups whose mission is to develop standardized quality indicators which can be used to measure the performance of service of these phases. This will eventually lead to the development of external quality assessment schemes to monitor these phases in agreement with ISO15189:2012 recommendations. This review focuses on potential errors in the extra-analytical phases of clinical chemistry laboratory testing, some of the studies performed to assess the severity and impact of these errors and processes that are in place to address these errors. The aim of this review is to highlight the importance of these errors for the requesting clinician.


Laboratory errors Preanalytical phase Postanalytical phase Quality indicators Quality assessment 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interests

The author declares that he/she has no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Association of Clinical Biochemists of India 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Chemical PathologyNational Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) and University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg HospitalCape TownSouth Africa

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