Our Critical Values Policy

Purpose of this Policy

This policy defines our responsibilities for determining the tests, which are performed by Precision Lab Services (PLS) that fulfull the criteria for critical values or results.  It also describes the process that we follow to communicate these results.

A critical value is defined as a value that represents a physiological state that is so different from normally observed values that they are considered life-threatening unless something is done promptly - and for which, some timely corrective action can be taken.

Note that critical values may not correspond directly with normal reference values, toxic ranges, or therapeutic ranges.

Our Policy


The care provider or referring laboratory is notified when critical limits of specified test results are exceeded.  In addition to the routine result reporting process, PLS staff telephone the ordering provider or facility within 60 minutes following the laboratory release of the critical result(s).

In the event that contact is not made within the 60-minute period, PLS will continue to call periodically until the designated party is reached and the result is communicated according to this policy.  


Read-Back Requirement.  

To verify that the critical result(s) were communicated accurately through the telephone, the provider or facility responsible for the patient's care is require to read-back the:  patient name, patient ID if applicable, the critical test(s) and the critical result(s).



The critical results are documented in our standard operating procedure and in our laboratory information system (LIS).  The communication attempts and successful communication is noted in the Lab's patient's results record according to our established procedures.

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