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Comment & Response
September 21, 2020

Clinical Laboratory Test Unit Homogeneity—an Urgent Need

Author Affiliations
  • 1Laboratory Unit, Department of Surgical Science, School of Medicine, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(12):1715-1716. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.3532

To the Editor A recent Letter to the Editor written by Song and Zheng1 reported corrections to measurement units for a number of laboratory data previously published by Wu et al.2 Errors in measurement units are frequent in the literature; regrettably, the heterogeneity of measurement units among different commercially available analytical methods for a given biomarker is a key factor introducing an increased likelihood of errors. Several crucial issues arise from this scenario: poor accuracy in the reporting of laboratory test results by authors of clinical trials and experimental studies; poor awareness of the potential harmful consequences for patients and research results deriving from these errors (eg, misleading conclusions regarding test sensitivity and specificity); poor equivalence between published studies; poor interpretation of data collected electronically, which means the failure of electronic health record and big data collection and storage; and poor safety for patients.

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