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Optimizing Test Utilization

Curtis A. Hanson, MD, discusses our test utilization program.

Hello. I’m Dr. Curt Hanson, a hematopathologist here in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic. I’m a member of our department’s clinical practice committee and serve as chair of the practice optimization team.

Our group’s main objective is to continuously identify and improve strategies for performing appropriate laboratory and pathology testing with the goal of providing high quality, cost-effective patient care.

For the past 40 years, Mayo Medical Laboratories has been using these strategies to collaborate with clients to address test utilization challenges. What I have seen is that a successful utilization program will not only help control costs, but more importantly it will assure that the correct test or testing strategy is performed. The bottom line is that these efforts unequivocally lead to good patient care.

A test utilization program will also enhance those critical interactions between laboratory directors, pathologists, and clinicians. As we have seen the number and complexity of available tests significantly increase, it’s clear to all of us that clinicians are having a difficult time maintaining proficiency in all areas of laboratory testing. In my experience, physicians welcome our help and expertise in how to use the laboratory to answer their clinical questions. They especially value the opportunity to work in a collaborative manner with the laboratory to advance high quality patient care.

Please visit the Mayo Medical Laboratories test utilization site to learn more about the Mayo Clinic approach as well as finding out about strategies that may help you and your physicians on appropriate test ordering.