Empowering medicine residents to order labs mindfully to improve patient-centered care

Rachna Rawal, Oluwasayo Adeyemo, Paul Kunnath, Ara Vartanyan, Hala Saad, Alex Lane, Matthew J. Schuelke, Yujie Sue, Jessica Drummond, Jennifer M. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Unnecessary laboratory testing of hospitalized patients is prevalent. Objective: We conducted a study focused on “mindful ordering” to decrease unnecessary laboratory ordering within an Internal Medicine residency program. Designs, Settings and Participants: We collected survey data on resident/faculty perceptions of laboratory ordering as well as order information from the electronic medical record (EMR). Intervention: Interventions focused on resident-identified barriers such as knowledge, EMR, habit and faculty expectations. Interventions were cumulative and included resident/faculty education and EMR optimization. Main Outcomes and Measures: We assessed basic and complete metabolic panels (BMP, CMP) and complete blood counts with and without differential (CBC w/diff, w/o diff). Primary outcomes included: total labs ordered per week, lab and frequency, and resident perception of ordering practices. Secondary outcomes included: length-of stay (LOS) and venipuncture utilization. Results: Survey data demonstrated increased resident perception of both mindful ordering and team discussion. Total labs ordered per week decreased 20% in the first year (1944 to 1500 labs/week). Residents' use of the “one-time draw” option increased; use of “daily” frequency decreased. Trends showed an increase in BMP relative to CMP, and an increase in CBC w/o diff relative to CBC w/diff. These changes were sustained through 127 weeks. There was an approximately 10% decrease in monthly average of patients undergoing venipuncture each day (86.7% to 74.2%). The shifts in laboratory ordering in conjunction with increased discussion about labs suggest a sustained change in resident lab ordering behavior. This study shows the impact of focusing interventions on resident-identified barriers to mindful ordering to create a sustained decrease laboratory orders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-404
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of hospital medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


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