Active intervention in hospital test request panels pays.
Clin Chem Lab Med. 2015 Apr;53(5):731-42
Authors: Janssens PM, Staring W, Winkelman K, Krist G
BACKGROUND: Ordering laboratory tests by means of test panels is a convenient way of requesting tests, preventing necessary tests from being forgotten. However, it also leads to redundant test ordering, as not all tests in a given panel are required for each patient. As test panels proposed by doctors may contain redundant, overlapping or infrequently used tests, the active involvement of knowledgeable laboratory staff in the organisation of test panels is advisable to promote efficient test use.
METHODS: Laboratory staff initiated an intervention in the organisation of test panels at our hospital in 2009. After a review of the existing panels and the proposals for new panels, we established a total of 60 panels (down from 171 previously). We also stipulated that the laboratory is to be involved with all proposals for new test panels in the future.
RESULTS: The reorganisation reduced the number of tests in the test panels by 17.7% (n=60), which theoretically should have resulted in 4.5% fewer tests being ordered. However, as an estimated 14% of the tests removed were then ordered individually in addition to the panels, 3.9% fewer tests were ordered, yielding an annual saving of about €58,000 (4.5% of the costs of all tests ordered in test panels). The savings amount to 7-8% if the frequently ordered metabolic panel (which was left unchanged) was excluded from the survey.
CONCLUSIONS: Active intervention by the laboratory in the organisation of test panels results in a reduction in the use of tests and in interesting savings.
PMID: 25301675 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]