Just kidding–this sort of thing isn’t easy. Right?
Not so fast. A few days ago I attended a session on test utilization management at the AACC meeting in Chicago. While the issue is quite complex–it’s not just a matter of right test/right patient/right time (which is tough enough already)–the speakers gave the audience a few relatively easy ways to improve test utilization.
- Find and fix ordering errors
- Identify tests with limited clinical use and eliminate them from your menu
- Suggest a better test for the same disease/condition
- Identify and correct deviations from established guidelines
- Investigate odd patterns. (For example, if General Hospital generates 5% of your business but accounts for 70% of test X.)
- Monitor year-to-year practice variations
As I said, this issue is quite complex, but implementing even a few of these changes could improve your lab’s bottom line.
–Kelly Swails, MT(ASCP), is a laboratory professional, recovering microbiologist, and web editor for Lab Medicine.