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General Health Channel
Reported March 11, 2014

Doctors Unsure about Ordering Tests for Patients

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Many primary care physicians are unsure about when to order and how to interpret the results from a laboratory test for their patients, according to a survey of nearly 1,800 doctors by the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The number of laboratory tests available to doctors has nearly doubled to more than 3,500 tests over the last 20 years. According to the survey, primary care doctors see an average of 81 patients a week, and reported ordering one of these tests for 31 percent of their patients. Yet, they also reported being unsure about the test 15 percent of the time, and reported being unable to interpret the results 8 percent of the time.

The optimal testing pathways to arrive at correct diagnoses is changing, so it is difficult for primary care physicians to keep up with new and efficient testing algorithms,” study author Dr. John Hickner, professor and head of family medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, was quoted as saying. “This is a situation that clearly fosters uncertainty, so the results of the survey are not all that surprising.”

For more information, go to: http://news.uic.edu/doctors-often-uncertain-in-ordering-interpreting-lab-tests#sthash.gNFS0J0P.dpuf

SOURCE: The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, March 2014

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