Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine
Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine
Original article

Inappropriate laboratory testing requests: perspectives of clinical laboratory professionals

Solicitudes de pruebas de laboratorio inapropiadas: perspectivas de los profesionales del laboratorio clínico

Sultan Alasmari

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Introduction: Laboratory examinations constitute a major factor in achieving the correct clinical diagnosis for patients. However, the ordering of unnecessary or inappropriate laboratory testing remains common, with consequent consumption of laboratory resources whether human or material. The present work evaluated the level of satisfaction of laboratory practitioners toward the appropriateness of laboratory tests ordered by physicians.
Methods: This cross-sectional study involved a total of 256 medical laboratory practitioners representing different qualifications and health care sectors, who answered several questions concerning their knowledge and attitudes toward inappropriate laboratory testing ordered by physicians.
Results: More than 85% of respondents agreed with the definition provided in the survey, which is substantially consistent with prior studies. More than 90% affirmed the associated drain on time and resources. However, discrepant responses were received concerning physician awareness of test availability, and participants reported laboratory staff arguments with physicians due to orders for unnecessary tests. Data showed that unnecessary orders were mainly requested by physicians of less experience.
Conclusions: Ultimately, dissatisfaction was manifest among clinical laboratory professionals, and educational interventions are required to moderate request behaviors.


Inappropriate laboratory testing; Clinical laboratory professionals; Physicians


Introducción: Los exámenes de laboratorio constituyen un factor importante para lograr el diagnóstico clínico correcto de los pacientes. Sin embargo, el pedido de pruebas de laboratorio innecesarias o inapropiadas sigue siendo común, con el consiguiente consumo de recursos de laboratorio, ya sean humanos o materiales. El presente trabajo evaluó el nivel de satisfacción de los profesionales de laboratorio con respecto a la idoneidad de las pruebas de laboratorio ordenadas por los médicos.
Métodos: Este estudio transversal involucró a un total de 256 médicos de laboratorio de diferentes calificaciones y sectores de atención de la salud, quienes respondieron varias preguntas sobre sus conocimientos y actitudes hacia las pruebas de laboratorio inapropiadas ordenadas por los médicos.
Resultados: Más del 85% de los encuestados estuvo de acuerdo con la definición proporcionada en la encuesta, que es sustancialmente consistente con estudios anteriores. Más del 90% afirmó la pérdida asociada de tiempo y recursos. Sin embargo, se recibieron respuestas discrepantes con respecto al conocimiento de los médicos sobre la disponibilidad de las pruebas, y los participantes informaron sobre las discusiones del personal del laboratorio con los médicos debido a las órdenes de pruebas innecesarias. Los datos mostraron que los pedidos innecesarios fueron solicitados principalmente por médicos con menos experiencia.
Conclusiones: En última instancia, la insatisfacción se manifestó entre los profesionales del laboratorio clínico y se requieren intervenciones educativas para moderar las conductas de solicitud.

Palabras clave

Test de laboratorio inapropiados; Profesionales clínicos de laboratorio; Médicos


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