HealthDay News — A multifaceted quality improvement initiative can cut laboratory costs in the hospitalist service of an academic medical center, according to a study published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Peter M. Yarbrough, MD, from the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City, and colleagues evaluated the impact of a multifaceted laboratory reduction intervention (including education, process change, cost feedback, and financial incentive) on laboratory costs.

The researchers found that among the intervention group (6310 hospitalist patient visits), the unadjusted mean cost per day was reduced from $138 before the intervention to $123 after the intervention (P < 0.001), and unadjusted mean cost per visit decreased from $618 to $558 (P = 0.005), compared to the control group (25 586 non-hospitalist visits). The interrupted time series analysis showed significant reductions in cost per day and cost per visit (P = 0.034 and 0.02, respectively). In the intervention group, length of stay was unchanged and 30-day readmissions decreased.

“A multifaceted approach to laboratory reduction demonstrated a significant reduction in laboratory cost per day and per visit, as well as common tests per day at a major academic medical center,” the authors write.

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One author disclosed financial ties to the software and clinical decision support industries.

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