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turn-around time, turnaround time Abbreviation: TAT
In the rushed environment of contemporary hospitals, especially in emergency departments and intensive care units, TAT can be a problem between physicians and nurses who order lab tests and the laboratorians who complete them and report the results. At the bedside, TAT starts with the ordering of the test. In the lab it begins when the specimen or the order for the test is received; next it is processed; and, finally, the results are reported to the clinician. Decreasing TAT without sacrificing the quality of reported results makes timely modifications in treatment possible; it requires careful planning at the bedside, a rapid system of specimen transport, an easy-to-use order entry system and log, and an efficient laboratory with well-trained professional staff.