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October 5, 1984

Laboratory Medicine in Clinical Practice: Practical and Efficient Use of the Laboratory in Patient Management

Author Affiliations

Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta

JAMA. 1984;252(13):1767. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350130073042

This concise discussion of diagnostic laboratory tests is intended to provide the practicing physician with a system-oriented overview of test selection and interpretation. It succeeds in accomplishing this objective.

The editor, medical director of a community hospital in Norwich, Conn, the associate editor, and 25 other contributors (half of whom are affiliated with Yale Medical School) have compressed a remarkable amount of information into a brief volume, yet skillful editing has resulted in a presentation that is readable as well as informative. The editorial approach is described succinctly in the chapter on blood gases and electrolytes, which "demonstrates an approach to the laboratory results, but does not require the ability to derive the Henderson-Hasselbach equation."

The first chapter discusses references ranges, called "normal values" with quotation marks, diagnostic sensitivity, diagnostic specificity, and predictive values. The presentation is relatively unsophisticated, but does point out some of the problems in distinguishing normality