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Can Med Assoc J. 1983 Nov 1;129(9):934-7.

[Utilization of diagnostic tests in a family medicine service].

[Article in French]


For a random sample of 1029 visits occurring over a 1-year period in a family medicine service 1067 diagnostic tests were done within 1 week (or within 3 weeks in the case of nuclear medicine) following the visit; this represents a mean of 1.04 tests, costing $ 8.30, per visit. There was no test ordered in most (62.5%) of the visits. The results of 909 tests were recorded; 36.6% were abnormal. The pattern of use of diagnostic tests varied considerably among the physicians; however, no association was observed between this pattern and the status of the physician, the site of the encounter, or the age or sex of the patient. There was a weak and not statistically significant correlation between the number of problems identified and the number of tests with abnormal results per visit. These results suggest that the problem of overuse of diagnostic tests may not be as acute in a family medicine service as it has been observed to be in other settings.

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