Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Friday, November 4, 2016

A lot of blood, for no reason?

Curbing genetic testing for clot-prone patients is just one example of how to improve spending of health care dollars through better ordering of tests. A half billion dollars, at least, gets spent each year on blood tests to see which hospital patients have a genetic quirk that makes their blood more likely to form dangerous clots.

Writing in the Journal of Hospital Medicine , they review what’s known about testing for the trait called inherited thrombophilia, and call for a drastic cut in the test’s use by doctors across America.

After all, they write, hospitalized people who have already had such dangerous clots, called venous thromboembolisms or VTEs, don’t need a positive genetic test to justify taking medication and making other changes to prevent future ones.

And there’s no evidence that medication to prevent clots will help hospital patients who haven’t yet had a VTE. Testing their DNA for inherited thrombophilia won’t change that.

In other words, the authors say, ordering inherited thromboembolism testing on inpatients is something doctors do for little or no reason. And according to the team’s analysis of data pulled from medical records, they do it hundreds of thousands of times a year in Medicare patients alone.

Can we call this predictive, preventive and personalised laboratory medicine?

Read more:
A lot of blood, for no reason? U-M team concludes that common, costly clot test has few benefits | University of Michigan Health System

 Source: University of Michigan Health System

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