Regional variations in test requiring patterns of general practitioners in Spain
Objective. To analyze the requesting patterns for a range of laboratory tests ordered in 2009 from eight laboratories providing services to eight health areas, using appropriate indicators.
Design. Indicators measured every test request per 1,000 inhabitants, and indicators that measured the number of tests per related test requested by general practitioners were calculated. The savings generated, if each Health Care Department achieved the appropriate indicator standard, were also calculated. Laboratory Information System registers were collected, and indicators were calculated automatically in each laboratory using a data warehouse application.
Results. There was a large difference in demand for tests by health areas. The ratio of related tests also showed a great variability. The savings generated if each Health Care Department had achieved the appropriate indicator standard were €172,116 for free thyroxine, €18,289 for aspartate aminotransferase, and €62,678 for urea.
Conclusions. Considerable variability exists in general practitioners' demand for laboratory tests.
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