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Validation of phlebotomy performance metrics developed as part of a proficiency-based progression initiative to mitigate wrong blood in tube


Aims The purpose of this study was to (1) characterise the procedure of phlebotomy, deconstruct it into its constituent parts and develop a performance metric for the purpose of training healthcare professionals in a large teaching hospital and to (2) evaluate the construct validity of the phlebotomy metric and establish a proficiency benchmark.

Method By engaging with a multidisciplinary team with a wide range of experience of preanalytical errors in phlebotomy and observing video recordings of the procedure performed in the actual working environment, we defined a performance metric. This was brought to a modified Delphi meeting, where consensus was reached by an expert panel. To demonstrate construct validity, we used the metric to objectively assess the performance of novices and expert practitioners.

Results A phlebotomy metric consisting of 11 phases and 77 steps was developed. The mean inter-rater reliability was 0.91 (min 0.83, max 0.95). The expert group completed more steps of the procedure (72 vs 69), made fewer errors (19 vs 13, p=0.014) and fewer critical errors (1 Vs 4, p=0.002) than the novice group.

Conclusions The metrics demonstrated construct validity and the proficiency benchmark was established with a minimum observation of 69 steps, with no critical errors and no more than 13 errors in total.

  • Medical education & training
  • health services administration & management
  • quality in health care
  • haematology
  • blood bank & transfusion medicine

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