Outcomes can be described as "what happened as a result of an action." The goal of healthcare is to improve the health of individuals who seek its services.
Considering this from a positive point of view, outcomes of laboratory services include:
- Getting well
- Improving health and function
- Being cured
- Receiving a proper diagnosis
- Going into remission
- Receiving a treatment or medication adjustment
- Being discharged from the hospital
Negative patient outcomes, or non-conforming events (NCEs), of laboratory services include:
- Inappropriate medical treatment
- Inappropriate medication adjustment
- Incorrect diagnosis
- Delayed diagnosis
- Delayed treatment
All of these negative outcomes require investigation. An unexpected event that has resulted in death or serious injury (physical or psychological) or an event that was averted, but may have resulted in death or serious injury (often referred to as a "near miss"), must be investigated by performing a root cause analysis.