Don’t repeat chemistry testing in the face of clinical and laboratory stability

In the general wards, the patients are often submitted to ripetitive draws of blood in the short terms, for redundant chemistry testing. Altered laboratory results often require controls, even though the original request was futile, and this amplifies the phenomenon. The anemia induced during hospitalization as a consequence of frequent draws tends to be underestimated, and this may become a problem in specific clinical settings. Attempts to introduce back-control in laboratory orders, based on “reflex” systems, incompatibility with previous results and authomathc temporal filters are under way. However, it is part of the responsibility of the orderer to discern what is aimlessly repetitive, also through a better collaboration with the laboratory. Obviously, futile examinations produce wasting.


1. Salisbury AC, Reid KR, Alexander KP. Et al. Diagnostic blood loss from phlebotomy and hospital acquired anemia during acute myocardial infarction. Arch Intern Med 2011; 171: 1646-53.
2. Janssens PM. Managing the demand for laboratory testing: options and opportunities. Clin Chim Acta 2010; 411: 1596-602, doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2010.07.022. Epub 2010 Jul 24

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