Objectives: To implement an electronic laboratory utilization management system (laboratory expert system [LES]) to provide safe and effective reductions in unnecessary clinical laboratory testing.
Methods: The LES is a set of frequency filter subroutines within the Veterans Affairs hospital and laboratory information system that was formulated by an interdisciplinary medical team.
Results: Since implementing the LES, total test volume has decreased by a mean of 11.18% per year compared with our pre-LES test volume. This change was not attributable to fluctuations in outpatient visits or inpatient days of care. Laboratory cost savings were estimated at $151,184 and $163,751 for 2012 and 2013, respectively. A significant portion of these cost savings was attributable to reductions in high-volume, large panel testing. No adverse effects on patient care were reported, and mean length of stay for patients remained unchanged.
Conclusions: Electronic laboratory utilization systems can effectively reduce unnecessary laboratory testing without compromising patient care.
Keywords: Clinical laboratory; Cost containment; Frequency filter; Test reduction; Utilization management.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Clinical Pathology, 2016. This work is written by US Government employees and is in the public domain in the US.