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Timely Newborn Screening Testing

Newborn blood testing is critically important in identifying deadly conditions that occur in about one in every 800 babies. Screening for these conditions should occur no more than three days after birth, yet in 2013 almost 75% of samples had a five-day turnaround or longer. In addition, many samples were not accurately collected and thus could not be tested in a timely fashion.

The Goal:
Ensure all specimens are sent for laboratory testing within 24 hours after the blood being adequately drawn.

Method & Implementation:
The South Carolina Newborn Screening Collaborative – On Time Every Time was formed in 2014 to meet this goal, requiring all 45 birthing hospitals in the state to report their success rates monthly and to streamline their testing processes to get the samples out the door to DHEC sooner. DHEC itself also added additional technicians and weekend hours to their laboratory, speeding up the turnaround process.

As of January 2015, 93% of our birthing hospitals have met the goal – a staggering increase from the initially reported percentage of 25%.

To learn more about our newborn screening collaborative, a full SCHA story is available here.

For more information about this story or to tell us about your own best practices, email us at