Interpretive reporting of laboratory data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Nowadays physicians accept that they are much more dependent than in the past upon laboratory data. This dependence has been fostered by new tests and by steady, sometimes spectacular, improvements in laboratory technique, instrumentation, quality control, and the like. However, the proliferation of tests has confronted us with such an array of results that it is becoming difficult to grasp their full meaning. We seem to have entered an age in which it is easier to produce test results than to understand them. Pathologists realize that the statistical definition of normal, with which they are so familiar, is poorly understood by many physicians who fail to realize that any laboratory value, no matter how good, is only an estimate. This situation has created a need for participation by laboratory specialists in evaluating test results, and it should be no surprise that pathologists have developed a specialized body of knowledge in this area. The result is a trend toward presentation of laboratory results in such a way that the data can be assimilated by the clinician easily, quickly, and completely. More laboratory tests allow improved diagnosis and care, but beyond a certain point testing becomes meddlesome and the return marginal. On the other hand, many laboratory tests are ordered defensively. But herein is the dilemma: if one orders the test, one must properly take note of the results, understand the implications, and act accordingly. Interpretive reporting of test results should benefit patient, physician, and laboratory alike in this regard. Interpretive reporting has a potential for helping pathologists and clinicians fulfill their responsibilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-131
Number of pages3
JournalHuman Pathology
Volume9
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1978

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Research Design
Physicians
Quality Control
Pathologists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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Interpretive reporting of laboratory data. / McConnell, T. H.

In: Human Pathology, Vol. 9, No. 2, 1978, p. 129-131.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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