Original Research

Understanding the interface between clinical and laboratory staff

Ankie van den Broek, Coosje J. Tuijn, Lisette van ’t Klooster, Elizabeth Msoka, Marion Sumari-de Boer, Jaffu Chilongola, Linda Oskam
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 3, No 1 | a127 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v3i1.127 | © 2014 Ankie van den Broek, Coosje J. Tuijn, Lisette van ’t Klooster, Elizabeth Msoka, Marion Sumari-de Boer, Jaffu Chilongola, Linda Oskam | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 July 2013 | Published: 24 July 2014

About the author(s)

Ankie van den Broek, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) Health, Netherlands
Coosje J. Tuijn, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Biomedical Research, Netherlands
Lisette van ’t Klooster, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Biomedical Research
Elizabeth Msoka, Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI), Tanzania, United Republic of
Marion Sumari-de Boer, Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI), Tanzania, United Republic of
Jaffu Chilongola, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, Tumaini University, Tanzania, United Republic of
Linda Oskam, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Biomedical Research, Netherlands


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Abstract

Background: The interface between clinicians and laboratory staff is where the two meet and work together to provide quality care to their clients (patients). Effectiveness of the interface depends on the way the two groups of professionals relate to and communicate with each other. The number and type of tests requested and the use of the test results for clinical decision making can be influenced by the interface between clinicians and laboratory staff. A model to understand the factors and dynamics around the interface is lacking.

Objectives: To propose a new conceptual model to gain insight and analyse factors that influence the laboratory–clinical staff interface.

Methods: To develop the conceptual model, a literature study was performed, regulatory guidelines and standards for laboratories were analysed and discussions were held with experts on the topic.

Result: A conceptual model and analytical framework provided good guidance in understanding and assessing the organisational and personal factors shaping the interface. The model was based on three elements: (1) the three phases of communication (pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical); (2) the organisational and personal factors of interaction; and (3) the socio-political, economic and cultural context in which clinicians and laboratory staff operate.

Conclusion: Assessment of the interface between clinicians and laboratory workers can be performed in a systematic way. Applying this model will provide information to managers of health institutions and heads of laboratories and clinical departments about what happens when clinicians and laboratory staff interact, thus aiding them in designing strategies to improve this interface.


Keywords

interface; clinical staff; laboratory staff; health systems

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