Objective: To determine whether simply being made continually aware of the hospital costs of daily phlebotomy would reduce the amount of phlebotomy ordered for nonintensive care unit surgical patients.
Design: Prospective observational study.
Setting: Tertiary care hospital in an urban setting.
Participants: All nonintensive care unit patients on 3 general surgical services.
Intervention: A weekly announcement to surgical house staff and attending physicians of the dollar amount charged to nonintensive care unit patients for laboratory services during the previous week.
Main outcome measure: Dollars charged per patient per day for routine blood work.
Results: At baseline, the charges for daily phlebotomy were $147.73/patient/d. After 11 weeks of residents being made aware of the daily charges for phlebotomy, the charges dropped as low as $108.11/patient/d. This had a correlation coefficient of -0.76 and significance of P = .002. Over 11 weeks of intervention, the dollar amount saved was $54,967.
Conclusion: Health care providers being made aware of the cost of phlebotomy can decrease the amount of these tests ordered and result in significant savings for the hospital.