Team effect on variation in laboratory utilization on subspecialty services

Acad Med. 2009 Oct;84(10 Suppl):S63-6. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181b37031.


Background: The objective was to determine whether variation in laboratory utilization exists and whether physicians were responsible for a portion of this variation.

Method: Variation in laboratory test ordering was collected on subspecialty services: the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) and the Oncology Service. Ordinary least-squares regression was used to determine the effect of interns, residents, and attendings on the variation observed.

Results: Variation in laboratory utilization attributable to physicians exists. Housestaff explain a proportion of this variation on each subspecialty service.

Conclusions: Housestaff explain a large proportion of laboratory utilization attributable to physicians. This may represent an opportunity for education on systems-based practice and practice-based learning.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Medical Oncology
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*