Order Indication Solicitation to Assess Clinical Laboratory Test Utilization: D-Dimer Order Patterns as an Illustrative Case

Joseph Rudolf, Jason Baron, Anand Dighe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background:A common challenge in the development of laboratory clinical decision support (CDS) and laboratory utilization management (UM) initiatives stems from the fact that many laboratory tests have multiple potential indications, limiting the ability to develop context-specific alerts. As a potential solution, we designed a CDS alert that asks the ordering clinician to provide the indication for testing, using D-dimer as an exemplar. Using data collected over a nearly 3-year period, we sought to determine whether the indication capture was a useful feature within the CDS alert and whether it provided actionable intelligence to guide the development of an UM strategy. Methods: We extracted results and ordering data for D-dimer testing performed in our laboratory over a 35-month period. We analyzed order patterns by clinical indication, hospital service, and length of hospitalization. Results: Our final data set included 13,971 result-order combinations and indeed provided actionable intelligence regarding test utilization patterns. For example, pulmonary embolism was the most common emergency department indication (86%), while disseminated intravascular coagulation was the most common inpatient indication (56%). D-dimer positivity rates increased with the duration of hospitalization and our data suggested limited utility for ordering this test in the setting of suspected venous thromboembolic disease in admitted patients. In addition, we found that D-dimer was ordered for unexpected indications including the assessment of stroke, dissection, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Conclusions: Indication capture within a CDS alert and correlation with result data can provide insight into order patterns which can be used to develop future CDS strategies to guide appropriate test use by clinical indication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number272164
JournalJournal of Pathology Informatics
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Clinical laboratory information systems
  • clinical decision support systems
  • medical order entry systems

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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