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Current Status of the Operations of Clinical Microbiology Laboratories at Night, on Weekends, and during Public Holidays in Korea: Proposing a Consensus Guideline
J Lab Med Qual Assur 2019;41:111-116
Published online June 30, 2019
© 2019 Korean Association of External Quality Assessment Service.

Namsu Kim1, Jaehyeon Lee1,2, Jihyun Cho3, and Hye Soo Lee1,2

1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Chonbuk National University Hospital, Chonbuk National University Medical School; 2Research Institute of Clinical Medicine of Chonbuk National University-Biomedical Research Institute of Chonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonju; 3Department of Laboratory Medicine, Wonkwang University Hospital, Iksan, Korea
Correspondence to: Hye Soo Lee, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Chonbuk National University Hospital, Chonbuk National University Medical School, 20 Geonji-ro, Deokjingu, Jeonju 54907, Korea, Tel: +82-63-250-1218 Fax: +82-63-250-1200 E-mail:
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: Clinical microbiological tests are conducted at night, on weekends, and during public holidays in various manners due to the fact that both manual processes and the form of working type, are not well known. Therefore, we surveyed the current running condition of these laboratories and made some suggestions for better-quality clinical microbiology tests.
Methods: We conducted a survey, both online and offline, focusing on the operating styles of clinical microbiological tests within laboratories that had participated in an external quality assessment program, conducted by the Korean Association of External Quality Assessment Service (KEQAS).
Results: Out of 341 laboratories that participated in the microbiology program of KEQAS, 128 replied to our questionnaires. In Korea, various types of operations occur within clinical microbiology laboratories. Those in night duty operate in either shifts or dedicated duties. In the case of weekend shifts, they either operated on single-day schedules (either on a Saturday or a Sunday), or over the entire weekend. For public holidays, the laboratories operated in various manners, depending on the number of days off. Among the clinical microbiological tests conducted at night, on weekends, and during public holidays, Gram staining and inoculations are the most common tasks carried out, with some laboratories conducting antibiotic susceptibility tests as well.
Conclusions: Rapid reporting of clinical microbiological test results is currently inadequate due to both cost and labor constraints, despite its many advantages. It would be ultimately beneficial for both the patient and the hospital to switch to a 24/7 operating schedule through the utilization of a variety of methods, including cost control, coordination of a fine workforce, and prioritization of tests needing to be reported.
Keywords : Laboratory management, Clinical microbiology reporting, Human resources
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