Laboratory utilization management (UM) is not only about saving money and reducing budgets, it is also about improving patient care. Health care that is effective performs appropriate and adequate tests in order to diagnose and treat conditions in a timely manner without performing more tests than are needed.
EBP, which is also referred to as evidence-based medicine, is an important consideration in utilization management (UM) efforts. EBP is a practice where current best evidence is used in making decisions about the care of individual patients. EBP involves the judicious use of protocols and algorithms. It requires that any new drug, procedure, or treatment be shown to be better than an existing method before it is adopted. Many clinicians think of EBP as being centered around treatments (such as predicting whether a particular treatment will do more good than harm), but EBP can also be applied to laboratory tests. The goal of EBP is to provide reasons for why we make changes to clinical practice.
When making changes to laboratory tests, algorithms, or guidelines, always consult up-to-date medical research so that you know your approach is evidence-based. This is not only the right thing to do clinically, it also helps with educating clinicians and getting buy-in from physician leaders who will often want to see the evidence that supports the proposed laboratory change.