QI Story: Unlocking the Power of Clinical History in Diagnostic Medicine – A Patient-Centric Approach

Necessity Of Clinical History On Each Test Ordered In Dispatch Of Reliable And Accurate Results For Diagnosis And Management Of Patients, Selective Case Study

Presented By: Hemman Mwashi, Medical Laboratory Technologist, AIC Kijabe Hospital

In the intricate world of healthcare, the laboratory department often operates behind the scenes, yet its pivotal role in patient care cannot be overstated. While laboratory personnel may not have face-to-face interactions with patients, their work forms a critical part of the healthcare process, making them the silent custodians of patient health. In this context, laboratory technicians, technologists, and officers are entrusted with the task of conducting tests and providing vital insights into a patient’s condition. However, there’s a significant missing piece in this puzzle: clinical history.

At AIC Kijabe Mission Hospital, the laboratory department has undertaken a groundbreaking journey to shed light on the necessity of clinical history in diagnostic medicine, even in cases where it is considered irrelevant or inaccessible. This bold endeavour aims to bridge the gap in patient care, ensuring that clinical history becomes an integral part of the diagnostic process.

Hemman Mwashi, a Medical Laboratory Technologist at AIC Kijabe Mission Hospital, recognized the necessity of bridging this gap. His study, “Necessity of Clinical History on Each Test Ordered in Dispatch of Reliable and Accurate Results for Diagnosis and Management of Patients,” set out to underscore the pivotal role clinical history plays in diagnostic medicine.

The study focused on a compelling objective: establishing the indispensable role of clinical history in the world of diagnostic medicine. Clinical history, typically obtained by clinical teams, plays a crucial role in understanding the patient’s condition, symptoms, and medical history. Yet, when it’s omitted or inadequate, a gaping hole appears in the diagnostic process, potentially jeopardizing patient care. By reviewing selected cases where improper or no clinical history was provided, they aim to demonstrate the transformational impact it can have on patient care.

This journey of discovery takes the form of a retrospective cross-sectional study, where past cases are revisited to unearth invaluable insights. Ethical considerations are a guiding principle throughout this process, ensuring that patient confidentiality and privacy are respected.

The Silent Crisis

The absence of clinical history may appear inconspicuous, but its repercussions are far-reaching. In the world of diagnostic medicine, clinical history acts as a compass, guiding laboratory professionals in their analysis. Without this vital piece of the puzzle, the risk of erroneous results, equipment malfunction, or improper sample collection looms large. The consequences are dire, with one in twenty patients potentially requiring admission to critical care units due to irrational results, five in ten commencing medication based on incorrect diagnoses, and three in five experiencing delayed treatments due to the need for repeated sample collection.

A Journey Toward Patient-Centric Care

The AIC Kijabe Mission Hospital laboratory department’s mission is to amplify the patient’s voice in the diagnostic process. They recognize that patients are more than just numbers; they are individuals with unique medical histories and needs. By embracing clinical history as an integral part of the diagnostic process, they aim to provide not just results, but comprehensive insights that enable healthcare providers to deliver the highest quality care and ensure patient safety.

The Future of Diagnostic Medicine

As this journey unfolds, it promises to reshape the landscape of diagnostic medicine. Clinical history is poised to emerge from the shadows, taking its rightful place as an indispensable element of patient care. It is a testament to the unwavering commitment of healthcare professionals at AIC Kijabe Mission Hospital to elevate patient care, one case at a time.

In summary, Hemman Mwashi’s study acts as a clarion call for change—a change that places the patient at the centre of healthcare, making clinical history a standard practice in laboratory medicine. It is a transformative step that promises to enhance the accuracy of results, improve patient safety, and elevate the standard of healthcare. This study may well be the catalyst for a paradigm shift in patient care, ushering in a new era where all aspects of a patient’s medical history are valued, heard, and acted upon.

Read More about the QI story below:

This is part of the storytelling contest submission for World Patient Safety Month. Read more here.

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