Research Article

Effectiveness of out-of-hours biochemistry investigations.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 283 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.283.6286.289 (Published 25 July 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;283:289
  1. R M Young,
  2. R B Payne

    Abstract

    A survey was carried out of doctors who used their out-of-hours biochemistry service to find out why requests for investigations were made, how often the results altered patient management, and whether they could define areas where investigations were unproductive. Of 107 questionnaires distributed, 147 (88%) were completed. In 86% the requests were for diagnosis or immediate patient management and in 35% the results actually altered management. Senior clinical staff were more efficient than their juniors in instigating biochemical investigations that proved to be effective. In no instance where the clinical staff predicted that it was unlikely that the results would alter management was management altered. It is suggested that joint reviews of case notes by junior and senior clinical staff would prove to be the most appropriate way to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of clinical investigation.