Reduction in unnecessary red blood cell folate testing by restricting computerized physician order entry in the electronic health record.
Am J Med. 2018 May 02;:
Authors: MacMillan TE, Gudgeon P, Yip PM, Cavalcanti RB
OBJECTIVE: Red blood cell folate is a laboratory test with limited clinical utility. Previous attempts to reduce physician ordering of unnecessary laboratory tests, including folate, have resulted in only modest success. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness and impacts of restricting red blood cell folate ordering in the electronic health record.
METHODS: This was a retrospective observational study from January 2010 to December 2016 at a large academic healthcare network in Toronto, Canada. All inpatients and outpatients who underwent at least 1 red blood cell folate or vitamin B12 test during the study period were included. Red blood cell folate ordering was restricted to clincians in gastroenterology and hematology and was removed from other physicians' computerized order entry screen in the electronic health record in June 2013.
RESULTS: Red blood cell folate testing decreased by 94.4% during the study, from a mean of 493.0 (SD 48.0) tests/month before intervention to 27.6 (SD 10.3) tests/month after intervention (P<.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Restricting red blood cell folate ordering in the electronic health record resulted in a large and sustained reduction in red blood cell folate testing. Significant cost savings estimated at over a quarter-million dollars (CAD) over three years were achieved. There was no significant clinical impact of the intervention on the diagnosis of folate deficiency.
PMID: 29729235 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]