Laboratory defined critical value limits: how do hospital physicians perceive laboratory based critical values?

Clin Biochem. 2009 Jun;42(9):766-70. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2009.02.016. Epub 2009 Mar 3.


Objectives: To assess whether our critical values were viewed as appropriate by our physicians and to assess their understanding of critical values.

Methods: A web-based survey was prepared. The critical value levels were taken from our current values and select values based on a review of the literature. One of the options in the response for each analyte probed the understanding of the concept of critical value.

Results: There were 115 respondents from a range of disciplines. The results indicated that some (4/11) of our critical values were appropriate however, many required review (7/11). Most respondents (79%) did not fully appreciate the concept of critical value.

Conclusions: This survey specifically considers physician input for the establishment of critical values. The data enabled our laboratory to better identify critical values and has highlighted the need for physician education in the concept of critical values.

MeSH terms

  • Chemistry, Clinical
  • Data Collection
  • Hospitals*
  • Laboratories, Hospital*
  • Physicians
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*