Residents' self-report on why they order perceived unnecessary inpatient laboratory tests

J Hosp Med. 2016 Dec;11(12):869-872. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2645. Epub 2016 Aug 13.


Resident physicians routinely order unnecessary inpatient laboratory tests. As hospitalists face growing pressures to reduce low-value services, understanding the factors that drive residents' laboratory ordering can help steer resident training in high-value care. We conducted a qualitative analysis of internal medicine (IM) and general surgery (GS) residents at a large academic medical center to describe the frequency of perceived unnecessary ordering of inpatient laboratory tests, factors contributing to that behavior, and potential interventions to change it. The sample comprised 57.0% of IM and 54.4% of GS residents. Among respondents, perceived unnecessary inpatient laboratory test ordering was self-reported by 88.2% of IM and 67.7% of GS residents, occurring on a daily basis by 43.5% and 32.3% of responding IM and GS residents, respectively. Across both specialties, residents attributed their behaviors to the health system culture, lack of transparency of the costs associated with health care services, and lack of faculty role models that celebrate restraint. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2015;11:869-872. © 2015 Society of Hospital Medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / economics
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Laboratories, Hospital / economics
  • Laboratories, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians
  • Self Report*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires