ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Reduce Medical Laboratory Professional Liability Insurance

Updated on November 27, 2009
Reduce professional liability insurance
Reduce professional liability insurance

Medical laboratories are not prominent in the current debate over healthcare reform, but these facilities process millions of analytical tests annually on human tissue and body fluids to assist in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.  It is a multi-billion dollar business fueled by the so called “defensive medicine” practices of physicians who order numerous tests to defend themselves against medical malpractice claims.  For a single laboratory that may be processing hundreds of thousands of specimens a year, the exposure to professional liability claims is equally great.  This article will provide the basic steps to build upon for your professional liability loss control program and may help to reduce your insurance costs.

  • Develop a written Standard Operations Procedure (SOP) manual for each and every test and procedure you perform. Each SOP should contain, at a minimum, detailed instructions for obtaining specimens; specimen identification, handling, packaging, and labeling; testing and analysis; reporting; record keeping; and communicating with clients.

  • Be sure your procedures include the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines for the handling of blood and blood products, and other industry standard protocols for specimen management. Make copies of the SOP manual available to the analysts and medical laboratory technicians, and implement oversight and audit provisions to ensure the procedures are followed.

  • Ensure the expertise, quality and experience of your professional staff and technicians.   Perform background and reference checks on all professional staff and medical laboratory technician employee candidates.  Check to ensure that they are in compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations for necessary education, certification, and licensing.   Ask to see school transcripts, letters of references and any other pertinent documents that will establish their credentials. 

Implement careful employee hiring and training practices
Implement careful employee hiring and training practices
  • Train newly hired professional and technical employees thoroughly.  Require that they read the SOPs pertaining to their job activities.  Provide “hands on” training in specimen collection and handling, analytical methods, instrument use, your quality control program, and any other methods required to do their jobs properly.  Require that technical and professional staff demonstrate knowledge of methods by performing practice procedures for their supervisor.  Do not assign the new employee to a job until he or she can demonstrate proficiency and accuracy in each of their required tasks.  Once employees are assigned to a job, have supervisors observe work methods to see they follow established protocols. 

  • Establish an internal and external laboratory audit program.  All accredited medical laboratories must pass a periodic Federal Drug Administration audit to retain their certifications.  Consider an internal or peer review audit schedule as well.  All top-quality labs conduct an annual internal system and performance audit to ensure the quality of data production and reporting.   For example, reprocess random audit samples to test consistency of results.  Compare overall accuracy to industry reference points or peer laboratories.  Summarize your findings and distribute them to staff so that any deficiencies discovered are corrected.   Conduct follow-up audits until satisfactory results are achieved.  Sample internal audit programs and commercial internal audit software products are provided under Resources.

  • Implement an instrument inspection, preventive maintenance, and calibration program.  Analytical instruments must be calibrated in accordance with FDA approved procedures or with the requirements stated in the particular analytical method being used.  Ensure that recommended manufacturer’s instructions are also followed and that your Quality Assurance Manual describes methods to check instrument tune and appropriate calibration curves for each type of instrument used at the lab.  See that analysts and technicians conduct routine instrument maintenance according to procedures and frequency recommended by the manufacturer. 

  • Do not provide a warranty or guarantee beyond a generic industry standard that states testing and reports conform to generally acceptable analytical laboratory principles and practices, and that services are performed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.   
  • Do not provide an interpretation or diagnosis of any test either to the patient or to the physician.  This is the physician’s job.
  • Do not release test results to any person other than the physician.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)