Office of Newborn Screening

Transit Time Project

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Summary of first screen statistics for all hospitals in Arizona.Summary of first screen statistics for all hospitals in Arizona.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently accessed de-identified information for Newborn Screening Programs nationwide through an open-records request. The Sentinel published their findings on delays in newborn screening testing due to delayed bloodspot delivery to the laboratory for testing (transit time). These findings revealed many opportunities for improvement.

In an effort to improve services to newborns and families, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) developed an internal taskforce to lead newborn screening transit time initiatives, effective January 2014. ADHS is committed to transparency, accountability, and increased partnership as stakeholder's progress towards meeting this new statewide goal.

What does the Newborn Screening Transit Time Project offer?

  • Information about the Newborn Screening Transit Time Project and new statewide goal
  • Monthly performance reports for Arizona birth hospitals
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about transit time
  • Links to valuable resources
  • Ability to request a site visit

What is the new goal for Arizona birth hospitals?

By July 1, 2014, 95% of all newborn screening bloodspots (initial screens) will be received at the Arizona State Laboratory within three (3) days of collection.

How is progress towards the transit time goal measured?

The ultimate goal is to ensure timely testing and early detection of rare congenital disorders in all newborns, therefore measures of success have been developed. A critical result that can be measured is referred to as transit time. Transit time is defined as the number of days between the date of blood collection and date of receiving the bloodspot in the Arizona State Laboratory. Transit time includes a series of chronological steps (i.e., drying and shipping via courier) that must occur within three days of collection from the time of bloodspot specimen collection to be considered acceptable.

Hospitals will have access to two transit time performance reports; mean days and acceptance rate. These two performance reports should be used in combination to help determine progress towards the goal.

  • The mean day performance report provides hospitals with the average transit time for all initial screens sent to the Arizona State Laboratory. Initial screens that arrive at the Arizona State Laboratory after three days negatively impacts the hospital’s acceptance rate. Hospitals are required to have a “mean day” of less than or equal to three days.
  • The initial screens received within 3 days performance report provides hospitals with the percentage of the initial screens that were received at the Arizona State Laboratory within three days of bloodspot collection. Initial bloodspots that have a transit time exceeding three days negatively impact the hospital’s performance and can result in the delayed detection of a congenital disorder. Ideally hospitals should strive to achieve (target) a 95% or greater to meet the statewide goal.

Hospitals that have achieved a mean day transit time of three days or less but have an acceptance rate of less that 95% are encouraged to review internal protocols to eliminate the outliers that are negatively impacting their performance.

What are the results for June 2014 data?

In June 2014 there were 6752 infants born in Arizona. 99% of bloodspot specimens for initial screens arrived to the Arizona State Laboratory within 3 days of collection. June 2014 statistics reveal a 32% improvement in bloodspot specimen transit time for Arizona birth hospitals when compared to the baseline (2013) data of 67%.