Appropriate utilization of clinical laboratory tests

Clin Chem Lab Med. 2009;47(12):1461-5. doi: 10.1515/CCLM.2009.335.


Background: The use of laboratory tests has been increasing in recent years due to various factors affecting laboratories, physicians, legal aspects, or patients themselves.

Methods: The efficacy of laboratory tests must be evaluated on the basis of the clinical benefits that they provide in terms of prevention, diagnosis, follow-up, or treatment; with the aim of optimizing health results in general.

Results: There are techniques that can be used to determine the clinical validity of the efficacy, effectiveness, and safety of treatment or preventive measures performed on individuals with abnormal tests, as well as providing an economic evaluation of the process. Once the test is incorporated into clinical service, it must be evaluated by retrospective audits in test utilization. To improve the use of laboratory tests, many strategies have been devised that incorporate clinical practice guidelines (CPGs), the conduct of professionals and the patients, and organization of the process. We discuss the importance of the involvement of health professionals.

Conclusions: Strategies in relation to CPGs, conduct of professionals, conduct of patients, or organization of health care processes improve the use of tests in relation to clinical processes. Laboratory professionals have the appropriate knowledge and can improve the quality and efficacy of health care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Chemistry Tests / economics
  • Clinical Chemistry Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic