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February 26, 1982

A Laboratory Year for Clinicians?

JAMA. 1982;247(8):1119. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320330017008

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Recently there has been a movement by the American Board of Pathology to reestablish a clinical internship year for pathology residency programs. The intent is to broaden pathologists' experience and facilitate interaction with their peers in clinical medicine. As residents in pathology, we believe the emphasis is misplaced and ask instead: "Why not a laboratory year for the clinician?"

In our clinical experience (a former family practice resident and an American Board of Internal Medicine-certified internist), we have recognized the increasing reliance on laboratory tests for defining, diagnosing, and managing disease. As pathologists, however, we are confronted with the overuse and the misuse of laboratory tests. Inappropriate use of the laboratory can adversely affect the cost of medical care as well as the quality of that care. Clinical skills seem to have taken a back seat. Routine "admission batteries" on many services are now the norm. In our institution, for