Appropriate design of biochemistry request cards can promote the use of protocols and reduce unnecessary investigations

Ann Clin Biochem. 2001 Nov;38(Pt 6):714-6. doi: 10.1258/0004563011900957.


Attempts to control laboratory workload in the past always proved to be short-lived. We designed a request card based on clinical conditions for a gynaecology out-patient clinic to help clinical staff to adhere to agreed investigation protocols. Each request card had a tick-box associated with a clinical condition. The tests performed for each condition were advertised on a poster in the clinic. The workload was assessed for a 2-year period before and after the introduction of these cards. The numbers of all endocrine tests, except progesterone and sex hormone binding globulin, fell by 19% (P<0.0001) whereas the clinical cases seen remained steady at 227 per month. This report demonstrates that agreed protocols can be implemented but that a persistent aide-mémoire is necessary.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Clinical Chemistry Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Gynecology
  • Hormones / analysis
  • Humans
  • Laboratories, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • United Kingdom
  • Workload


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Hormones