The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Emerging Cardiovascular Risk Markers. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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A Caveat...

In this short course we have explained the principles and intent of using novel cardiac biomarkers to help assess patient risk. One perspective that needs to be mentioned, however, is that of appropriate lab utilization. With the new Affordable Care Act taking effect (aka Obamacare), health systems will see many new patients. This fact, coupled with continued lower annual reimbursements for lab testing by Medicare, means that clinicians have to be prudent about ordering lab tests. Cardiovascular risk markers can be very useful but they need to be used judiciously. These are not screening tests. Not all patients need to be assessed with these new risk markers. Proper use of lab testing has become a very hot topic of late. Laboratory utilization meetings, symposiums, and new testing algorithms are gaining widespread attention. All of this is an effort to provide better care with fewer resources. As a result novel cardiovascular risk markers have probably taken a back seat in the minds of many lab directors. However, these novel risk markers still have utility. The challenge now is to develop criteria and guidelines around their use so that patients, HMOs, and clinicians are comfortable with their use by assuring that they are used only in the proper setting.