Service Level Agreement

A promise between a customer and supplier process to meet certain targets, including timing, as part of a handoff.

A commonly used agreement governs the timing of the handoff and includes some type of time buffer. For example: “Radiology agrees to a one-hour turnaround for all standard chest film requests.” The fixed-time buffer means that some orders might be completed faster than an hour but that all standard chest film requests would be completed within one hour. Alternately, a standard-pace agreement could specify the actual timing of the handoff, such as, “Housekeeping agrees to submit any stockout requests by 3pm each day.”

A more complex type of agreement, known as ”proceed until halted,” means a person who must approve work is informed that work has started (e.g. “We’re checking the insurance coverage of patient Doe) and the work continues unless the approver stops it within a specified period of time. (Adapted from Worth, et al, 2012, p.71.)