BACKGROUND: Turnaround time (TAT) is the benchmark to assess the performance of a laboratory, pathologists, and pathology services, but there are few articles on TAT of surgical pathology, particularly in relation to oral or head and neck specimens. This study investigates the TAT for oral histopathology reporting in an academic institution's training laboratory and offers recommendations to achieve better overall quality of diagnostic services.
METHODS: This study examined data obtained from biopsy request forms for specimens received from the Oro-Maxillofacial Surgery Department of Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang in the Oral Pathology Diagnostic Laboratory of the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, over a period of 3 years between January 2012 and October 2014.
RESULTS: TAT for surgical and decalcified specimens were increased significantly compared to biopsies. Additional special handling did not influence TAT, but increased specimen volume resulted in greater TAT. Slide interpretation was the most time-consuming stage during histopathology reporting. Overall, mean TAT was acceptable for most specimens, but the TAT goals were less than satisfactory.
CONCLUSION: A TAT goal appropriate for this laboratory may hence be established based on this study. Collective efforts to improve the TAT for various specimens are essential for better laboratory performance in the future.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.