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November 11, 1983

Ready! Fire!... Aim!An Inquiry Into Laboratory Test Ordering

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and the Section of Laboratories and Pathology (Dr Wong) and Clinical Information Systems (Dr Lincoln), Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center, Los Angeles.

JAMA. 1983;250(18):2510-2513. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340180064031

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.

(JAMA 1983;250:2510-2513)