Reducing duplicate testing: a comparison of two clinical decision support tools

Am J Clin Pathol. 2015 May;143(5):623-6. doi: 10.1309/AJCPJOJ3HKEBD3TU.


Objectives: Unnecessary duplicate laboratory testing is common and costly. Systems-based means to avert unnecessary testing should be investigated and employed.

Methods: We compared the effectiveness and cost savings associated with two clinical decision support tools to stop duplicate testing. The Hard Stop required telephone contact with the laboratory and justification to have the duplicate test performed, whereas the Smart Alert allowed the provider to bypass the alert at the point of order entry without justification.

Results: The Hard Stop alert was significantly more effective than the Smart Alert (92.3% vs 42.6%, respectively; P < .0001). The cost savings realized per alert activation was $16.08/alert for the Hard Stop alert vs $3.52/alert for the Smart Alert.

Conclusions: Structural and process changes that require laboratory contact and justification for duplicate testing are more effective than interventions that allow providers to bypass alerts without justification at point of computerized physician order entry.

Keywords: Clinical decision support; Meaningful use; Test utilization.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Laboratory Services / economics
  • Clinical Laboratory Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cost Savings
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical / economics*
  • Humans
  • Meaningful Use / economics
  • Meaningful Use / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / economics*
  • Reminder Systems / economics
  • Unnecessary Procedures / economics
  • Unnecessary Procedures / statistics & numerical data*