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Optimal Utilization of Laboratory Testing

Hints on Improving Lab Utilization

Slide 22

November 2011

Here's some hints on improving the lab utilization. This is probably the most important part is the process. You can all determine in your own area what tests are overutilized. But what's most challenging is how we go about approaching our physician colleagues and let them know. Well, successful lab utilization really assumes some degree of integration of your practice. In other words, you have to have a mechanism to communicate with your physicians you have their attention. If you do, then you have a better chance of improving your lab utilization. It's important to get to know your medical staff beforehand, especially the informal leaders. These would be the innovators and early adopters and recognized experts. For example, if you’re going to change your coagulation profile, one of the first things your physicians will ask you is, "What do the expert hematologists believe is the current practice?" Same thing for endocrine testing, they will ask what your endocrinologists on staff think about your suggestions. Third, you don’t have to convince every single provider on staff—only the key users of the particular test.

And lastly, data persuades and emotions motivate. By this I mean, if you could do real good data analysis based on the literature and examination of your own practice patterns. Put that together in an anonymous way, feed that information back to your physicians and let them come to their own conclusions. It's important that we realize, we've already done this in transfusion medicine for use of blood and blood products. So this is actually not very new.

Hints on Improving Lab Utilization


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