Background. The morphological examination of urinary sediment (MEUS) is traditionally associated with urinalysis (UA), with workload implications and the need for automation of its execution.
Methods. Considering MEUS as a test requiring specialized knowhow and skill for its execution, since 2005 in our laboratory it is performed for inpatients only upon specific request. Eleven years after, we have analyzed the long-term impact of this approach on the provided service. We evaluated results in the 2009-2016 period, in which our hospital did not undergo any change both in the number of beds and in the clinical case-mix.
Results. From 2009 to 2013 an average of 2264 MEUS and 10,204 UA per year were ordered, respectively, with an average ratio of 22.2%. Since 2014, a change on computerized order entry involving MEUS caused a further decrease of its requests (in average, 923 per year), which was not associated to a decrease in UA (in average, 9810 per year) (in average, MEUS/UA 9.4%). MEUS requests came mainly from Paediatrics (47.8%), Nephrology (20.9%) and Rheumatology (18.3%) wards. By filling a satisfaction survey, clinical wards evaluated the provided service as satisfactory, while highlighting some critical issues, mainly referred to preanalytical phase.
Conclusions. The alternative proposal for managing MEUS presented in this paper markedly reduces the number of requests and increases their appropriateness. This is achieved without any negative impact on patient care.
Keywords: Clinical governance, Patient safety, Urinalysis