Ready! Fire! . . . Aim! An inquiry into laboratory test ordering

JAMA. 1983 Nov 11;250(18):2510-3. doi: 10.1001/jama.250.18.2510.


Informal test-ordering protocols that do not follow a physiological rationale are common in teaching hospitals and represent part of the folklore of resident practice. Such faulty test-ordering routines increase the cost of care, waste resources, may fail to answer diagnostic questions, or may generate false leads. They prove to be part of a broader set of issues in information management not restricted to medicine. Clinically appropriate algorithms for diagnostic testing can be constructed to replace folkloric protocols. This should represent a major area of professional concern in clinical pathology.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques* / economics
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques* / trends
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Humans