Mercedes Ibarz, Janne Cadamuro, Zorica Sumarac, Joao Tiago Guimaraes, Svetlana Kovalevskaya, Mads Nybo, Michael P. Cornes, Pieter Vermeersch, Ana-Maria Simundic, Giuseppe Lippi
January 28, 2020
Background Laboratory tests are an essential aspect of current medical practice and their use has grown exponentially. Several studies however have demonstrated inappropriate use of laboratory testing. This inappropriateness can lead to delayed or wrong diagnosis, negatively impacting patient safety and an increase in health care expenditure. The aim of the present small-scale survey was to obtain information on the current status of demand management in European laboratories, as well as the opinions of laboratory and clinical professionals in this regard. Methods Two surveys were developed, one for laboratory specialists and one for clinicians, covering information on current use, knowledge and opinions on the possible impact of different demand management strategies on patient outcome and health care costs. Additionally, we asked for the current state and willingness on collaboration of laboratory specialists and clinicians. Results One hundred and fifty responses, 72 laboratory specialists and 78 clinicians, from nine countries were received. Developing local ordering protocols/profiles in collaboration with clinicians was the most used strategy (80.3% of laboratories). Of clinicians, 85.6% considered measures to ensure appropriate use of tests necessary and 100% were interested in advice/information about their indication. Of the laboratory specialists 97.2% were either already participating or willing to participate in multidisciplinary groups on the appropriateness of test demand as were 60.3% of clinicians, and 85.9% of clinicians were interested in attending activities about laboratory test demand management. Conclusions The results of our survey show that tools to improve the appropriate use of laboratory tests are already regularly used today. Laboratory medicine specialists as well as clinicians are willing to undertake additional shared activities aimed at improving patient-centered laboratory diagnostic workup.