Clustered interventions to reduce inappropriate duplicate laboratory tests in an Irish tertiary hospital.

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Clustered interventions to reduce inappropriate duplicate laboratory tests in an Irish tertiary hospital.

Clin Biochem. 2018 Feb;52:26-32

Authors: Brady H, Piggott L, Dunne SS, O'Connell NH, Dunne CP

BACKGROUND: There is increasing emphasis on understanding the rate, and avoidable costs, of inappropriate laboratory testing in hospitals, especially associated with duplication of tests following transfer of patients from one hospital to another. While studies of inappropriate testing have been reported previously, there are no published data relevant to Ireland.
AIMS: To determine the baseline rate of inappropriate testing for a subset of clinical parameters, specifically, full blood counts (FBC), biochemistry profiles (Bio) and coagulation (Coag) screens for geriatric patients transferring to and from University Hospital Limerick (UHL). Prospective pilot-scale implementation of five clustered interventions, and assessment of their effect.
METHODS: Baseline testing levels were determined between October 2013 and January 2014. A patient survey was conducted to evaluate patient awareness of the blood tests they underwent. Five interventions were trialed sequentially each month between January and May 2014. These included: educational poster, intern training, presentations and communication to consultants; automated prompt in the Lab Information Technology system; highlighting of patient survey results to medical staff; inclusion of laboratory test details on patient transfer document; patient booklet promoting empowerment. Impact was assessed by determining rates of inappropriate laboratory testing monthly, and associated actual cost reductions were calculated.
RESULTS: Approximately two-thirds of geriatric inpatients were unaware of why they underwent blood tests. Baseline numbers of inappropriate duplicate FBCs, Bio profiles and Coag tests were 758, 749 and 268 respectively for patients transferring to and from UHL. Following the interventions, these numbers dropped to 85, 84 and 0, respectively.
CONCLUSION: The interventions resulted in sustained reduction in rates of inappropriate testing by May 2014. Extrapolated cost reductions exceed two million Euro annually. The most effective intervention involved staff education.

PMID: 29056494 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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