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New Test Utilization Document


Wayne, Pennsylvania, USAThe Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute announces the publication of Developing and Managing a Medical Laboratory (Test) Utilization Program (GP49-Ed1).

The appropriate use of medical laboratory tests is critical for the diagnosis and monitoring of disease, and provides guidance for patient care. The misuse and overutilization of tests may cause patient harm by producing iatrogenic anemia and false-positive test results, both of which may have untoward sequelae. Similarly, underutilized tests (ie, not performing tests when they are needed) may result in missed or delayed diagnoses, and suboptimal patient management and patient care.

Developing and Managing a Medical Laboratory (Test) Utilization Program (GP49) provides guidance on the process for developing and effectively maintaining a test utilization or laboratory stewardship committee.

“The interactions between pathologists and other laboratorians with clinicians and other care providers increases the likelihood of patients receiving the correct testing and test interpretation, and aids the health care system by decreasing the cost of unnecessary testing,” said Gary W. Procop, MD, MS, Medical Director, Enterprise Laboratory Stewardship Committee, Cleveland Clinic and Chairholder of the Document Development Committee on Developing and Managing a Medical Laboratory (Test) Utilization Program.

“This document, composed by a team of experts with decades of experience, provides a roadmap for success,” said Dr. Procop. He continued, “Users of this document will receive guidance regarding the structure, organization and ongoing management of a test utilization committee. The document is also filled with examples regarding strategies and tactics for approaching a variety of commonly encountered utilization issues. The authors then discuss effectively measuring and analyzing the impact of interventions. Finally and possibly most importantly, the seasoned contributors share lessons learned and examples of barriers that have been encountered in their experience, with strategies to overcome these challenges.”

Features of this document include:

  • Organization and management of a test utilization committee.
  • An extensive list of strategies and tactics, with numerous examples.
  • An in-depth review of performance metrics.
  • A list of lessons learned and pearls of wisdom by seasoned contributors.
  • A list of articles and studies related to utilization management.
  • Appendixes include documents that are ready-to-use or may be easily modified:
    • A project charter template
    • An action plan template
    • A test utilization impact log
    • A test utilization impact worksheet

Professional level engagement in health care delivery across systems brings value to both the patient and the health care system. The future of pathology and laboratory medicine must include rigorous, robust and collegial test utilization management and assistance in coordinated care delivery. These approaches decrease unnecessary testing, which improves patient care and patient satisfaction, and also decreases health care costs. As the health care delivery model continues to migrate from a fee-for-service model to a value-based, often population management-type, model, the need for the laboratory to assist in the delivery of appropriate care at the right time will only increase through efforts to more adequately control chronic diseases and to implement testing important for preventive medicine.

For more information about GP49, contact contact Patrick McGinn at pmcginn@clsi.org or +1.484.588.5933.


CLSI sets the standard for quality in medical laboratory testing. A not-for-profit membership organization, CLSI brings together the global laboratory community for the advancement of a common cause: to foster excellence in laboratory medicine.

For nearly 50 years, our members, volunteers, and customers have made CLSI a respected, transformative leader in the development and implementation of medical laboratory testing standards. Through our unified efforts, we will continue to set and uphold the standards that drive quality test results, enhance patient care delivery, and improve health care around the world.

By using CLSI standards, laboratorians can improve process quality, speed the development of standard operating procedures, and implement safer practices with greater ease and efficiency.

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