Concerns About Possible Transcription Errors

Experience in data management of corporate drug-testing programs has revealed that transcription errors, such as data entry errors, occur throughout the testing process. Once the test result is accurately determined, or translated from the lateral-flow test device, the information must be transcribed. The test result is translated from the visual endpoints to the test technician's mental interpretation. It is translated from a mental process to a written or verbal transmission of the test result (9-11). A phone call to the employer may be requested with the test results. However, ultimately a written document demonstrating the final determination of the operator must be recorded. Errors in recording the test result are described as transcription errors. A written or verbal negative result when the test indicated the presence of drugs is a false-negative transcription error. Conversely, a written or verbal positive result when the test indicated the absence of drugs is a false-positive transcription error. Experience has shown that both error types occur in the use of visually read endpoint tests, where human translation and transcription are required to convey information to the customer (12).

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