Inappropriate lab testing is a major driver of health care costs—studies have shown that unnecessary tests add significantly to the overall cost of laboratory services. Clinical laboratory professionals have a key role in stemming the tide of appropriate and unnecessary tests, according to Jonathan Hoyne, PhD, DABCC, director of clinical chemistry for the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology in Jacksonville, Florida.

Hoyne and two contemporaries, Robert Benirschke, PhD, and Kevin Foley, PhD, will demonstrate how clinical laboratorians can make a tangible difference in appropriate test utilization during an afternoon short course at AACC’s Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, “Laboratory Test Utilization: Leading the Charge Towards Lab Stewardship” (73221). Benirschke is a clinical chemist at Northshore University Health System in Evanston, Illinois, and Foley is a data analyst at Kaiser Permanente.

Strategies labs can employ to rein in indiscriminate test ordering include sharing their expertise with colleagues “and leveraging laboratory resources such as the laboratory information system to identify incorrect test utilization or make it more difficult to order tests inappropriately,” Hoyne told CLN Stat.

The short course will be broken into several parts. Hoyne first plans to summarize some of the literature in the field on unnecessary testing. Afterward, Benirschke and Foley will discuss their own experiences in building support for and implementing test utilization activities at various institutions where they’ve worked.

“The three of us come from outside the world of the large academic medical center where much of the test utilization literature has been generated,” Hoyne noted. Directors, supervisors, administrators, and technicians working in similar institutions that face limited resources for test utilization projects will hopefully find value in these personal anecdotes, Hoyne added.

“Robert and Kevin have successfully implemented several projects in appropriate test utilization and they will be covering the real-world difficulties in approaching such a project, lessons learned, and take-home points that attendees can then apply at their own institution.”

The goal is to provide laboratorians with a list of actionable items to move their own projects forward, “while hopefully avoiding some of the strategies which have been attempted with a lot of effort and have been shown to have little or transient effect on test utilization patterns over time,” Hoyne said.

Register online to attend this session and learn more about reducing unnecessary lab testing.