When a reporter from Wisconsin wrote a story about newborn screening turn-around times around the country in December of 2013, we found out that we had room for improvement when it comes to the time it takes newborn metabolic screening samples to get from Arizona hospitals to our Lab. Basically, it was taking too long for the samples to be screened for life threatening and time-sensitive disorders.
We quickly set a goal of getting 95% of the samples to our Lab within 3 days by July 1, 2014. When we started the project back in December 2013, we were receiving 67% of our samples in 3 days, 20% in 4 days, 9% in 5 days, 4% of the samples took more than 5 days to get to our lab.
We met our goal a month early. As of July 2014 we were receiving 99% of newborn bloodspot specimens within 3 days with an average transit time of just 1.4 days. The Newborn Screening Transit Time Project team did a fabulous job tackling training for hospitals, eliminating issues with delivery contractors and ensuring that everyone involved is on the same page. Well done.
The ADHS won the first-ever Newborn Screening Quality Award from the March of Dimes this year. We were recognized for shortening the length of time it takes bloodspot samples to get from Arizona hospitals to our State Laboratory, setting and achieving a target of receiving 95% of samples within 72 hours, and for establishing a policy of full transparency for the length of time it takes Arizona hospitals to send newborn blood samples to our lab.