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Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2009;69(4):481-6. doi: 10.1080/00365510902749123.

Long-term effects of an education programme on the optimal use of clinical chemistry testing in primary health care.

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Department of Clinical Chemistry, Akademiska sjukhuset, Uppsala, Sweden.



The aim of this study was to investigate whether continuing education on the optimal use of clinical chemistry testing in primary health care has had any long-term effects on the test-ordering behaviour of the participating physicians.


The effects were monitored using 12 laboratory test ratios. Twenty-three general practitioners at 16 primary health-care centres in the county of Uppsala, Sweden, participated. A sign test was used to evaluate how individual physicians' test-ordering patterns have changed during the 8 years since implementation of the educational programme. Maintained or improved ratios were interpreted as a sustained effect on the primary health-care physician's test-ordering habits.


Eleven out of 12 of the investigated ratios were the same or improved since the time of the short-term follow-up 6 months after the education.


A short continuation course on optimal use of clinical chemistry assays can achieve permanent changes in the test-ordering patterns of primary health-care physicians. These findings highlight education as one possible means towards achieving cost-efficiency and quality in test-ordering.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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