Impact of weekly feedback on test ordering patterns

Christine Minerowicz, Nicole Abel, Krystal Hunter, Kathryn C. Behling, Elizabeth Cerceo, Charlene Bierl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objectives: We examined the impact of weekly feedback reports on the test-ordering behavior of internal medicine residents. Study Design: Retrospective analysis of a performance improvement effort. Methods: In a large, urban, academic medical center, we extracted raw data on every inpatient laboratory test ordered by all internal medicine residents during two 26-week time periods. The pre-intervention phase established baseline ordering volume as each resident rotated through the various clinical services. The intervention consisted of a 1-hour educational seminar detailing the potential harm and costs of laboratory overutilization followed by the post intervention phase, which consisted of weekly feedback reports graphically illustrating individual versus group ordering patterns, where the identity of individual residents was protected. The total numbers of tests ordered during the 2 phases were compared using an independent t test. Results: During the post intervention phase, we observed a net reduction of 21% in tests ordered-An average of 941 tests per week-with the greatest reduction in the chemistry section of the laboratory, followed by hematology, coagulation, and all others combined. This reduction in test volume corresponded to a 1.3 million reduction in charges. Conclusions: Providing physicians-in-Training with a weekly feedback report detailing their test ordering volume in comparison with those of their peers is an effective method for reducing laboratory overutilization. Benefits to our approach include maintaining physician autonomy without alteration of existing infrastructure or disclosure of test fees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-768
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy


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