ACCURATE RESULTS IN THE CLINICAL LABORATORY A Guide to Error Detection and Correction Ebook PDF
ACCURATE RESULTS IN THE CLINICAL LABORATORY A Guide to Error Detection and Correction Ebook PDF Clinicians must make decisions based on information presented to them, both by the patient and by ancillary resources available to the physician. Laboratory data gen- erally provide quantitative information, which may be more helpful to physicians than the subjective informa- tion from a patient’s history or physical examination. Indeed, with the prevalent pressure for physicians to see more patients in a limited time frame, laboratory testing has become a more essential component of a patient’s diagnostic workup, partly as a time-saving measure but also because it does provide information against which prior or subsequent test results, and hence patients’ health, may be compared. Tests should be ordered if they could be expected to provide additional information beyond that obtained from a physician’s first encounter with a patient and if the results could be expected to influence a patient’s care.
Typically, clinicians use clinical laboratory testing as an adjunct to their history taking and physical examination to help confirm a preliminary diagnosis, although some testing may establish a diagno- sis, such as molecular tests for inborn errors of metabo- lism. Microbiological cultures of body fluids may not only establish the identity of an infecting organism but also establish the treatment of the associated medical con- dition. In outpatient practice, clinicians primarily order tests to assist them in their diagnostic practice, whereas for hospitalized patients, in whom a diagnosis has typi- cally been established, laboratory tests are primarily used to monitor a patient’s status and response to treatment.
Tests of organ function are used to search for drug toxic- ity, and the measurement of the circulating concentra- tions of drugs with narrow therapeutic windows is done to ensure that optimal drug dosing is achieved and main- tained. The importance of laboratory testing is evident when some physicians rely more on laboratory data than a patient’s own assessment as to how he or she feels, opening these physicians to the criticism of treating the laboratory data rather than the patient.