Yearly Clinical Laboratory Test Expenditures for Different Medical Specialties in a Major Canadian City

Am J Clin Pathol. 2015 Jul;144(1):97-102. doi: 10.1309/AJCP80REPIUGVXPH.


Objectives: Very little is known about the relative contributions of physician specialty groups and individual physicians to overall clinical laboratory expenditures. The objectives of this study were to determine the costs of clinical laboratory test expenditures attributable to 30 medical specialties and the associated per capita physician expenditures for an entire major Canadian city. Only chemistry, hematology, and microbiology tests were included in this study.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study involving all physicians in Calgary, Canada, and surrounding areas (n = 3,499) and secondary data on laboratory test orders.

Results: Data were obtained on approximately 20 million test requests. The mean clinical laboratory test expenditure, in Canadian dollars, per physician was $27,945 for all physicians combined. Total expenditures by primary care physicians (family physicians and general practitioners) accounted for 58% of total expenditures.

Conclusions: There was wide variation in clinical laboratory test expenditures among specialties and on a per capita basis within medical specialties.

Keywords: Clinical chemistry; Informatics; Management/administration.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Clinical Laboratory Services / economics
  • Clinical Laboratory Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / economics*
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / statistics & numerical data*
  • Clinical Medicine / economics
  • Clinical Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Specialization / economics
  • Specialization / statistics & numerical data*