Laboratory Tests: Improving their Value to the Patient

February 3, 2014

Improving the value of laboratory tests requires understanding the ways in which physicians apply lab test results, and then measuring and actively managing the test ordering process. Test overuse represents an important opportunity; utilization data suggest that overuse is common, and cognitive science suggests that overtesting can actually degrade clinical decisionmaking. Test utilization management is an activity best performed by institutions and clinical departments, as opposed to being left to regulators and payers, and a number of models exist for successful test utilization management committees.

Brian R. Jackson, MD