CME: Laboratory Effectiveness: Clinical Laboratory Utilization

Number of Credits






This course provides CME credit and is only for individuals that are eligible for CME credit (physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses). All others should register for the course under the Laboratory Training category where the course is offered for
P.A.C.E. credit.

Course Details:

Laboratory Utilization Management (UM) is also referred to as resource utilization or lab stewardship. UM is the discipline whereby clinicians, laboratory professionals, and administrators work together to ensure that laboratory tests and results provide real clinical benefit to patients while ensuring that laboratory testing is both cost-effective and appropriately used. In short, UM is about doing the right test, at the right time, for the right patient, and at the right cost.

Health care costs have been rising sharply over the past 2-3 decades in the United States. In order to control spending, health care professionals must strive to be more efficient and effective. The goal of UM is to maintain or improve the quality of care without increasing the cost of laboratory testing. As will be discussed, some laboratory tests are ordered too frequently or laboratory tests that are considered obsolete continue to be ordered. There are also more esoteric (and expensive) laboratory tests than at any other time in history. As the field of laboratory medicine grows we must proactively work to make sure that laboratory testing is contributing to positive health outcomes rather than just driving up budgets.

Intended Audience: The target audience for this course is laboratory professionals eligible for CME credit (Physician Laboratory Directors, Pathologists, nurses, who act in an administrative capacity or would like to increase their knowledge regarding laboratory administrative issues.

Learning Objectives

  • Define laboratory utilization or lab stewardship and its overall goals.
  • Discuss the scope of practice for the laboratory professional in a utilization management role.
  • List issues and potential solutions concerning major problem areas including: Outside (referred) lab testing, obsolete tests or tests of limited value, over-bundled tests, stat tests, the electronic medical record (EMR) as a tool, a lab formulary, frequency of testing, tests that should be restricted, and genetic testing.
  • Describe the structure of a laboratory utilization team.
  • Discuss ways in which the laboratory can help clinicians avoid underuse, overuse, and misuse of clinical laboratory services.

This CME activity has been designed to change learner competence and focuses on the American Board of Medical Specialties areas of patient care, practice-based learning and systems-based practice.

This Enduring Material activity, Laboratory Director Continuing Education Program, has been reviewed and is acceptable for credit by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Term of approval begins 08/01/2019. Term of approval is for one year from this date. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Approved for 2.0 AAFP Prescribed credits.


AAFP Prescribed credit is accepted by the American Medical Association as equivalent to AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ toward the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award.  When applying for the AMA PRA, Prescribed credit earned must be reported as Prescribed, not as Category 1.

This course will take 2 hours to complete and there are no prerequisites. A credit certificate will be issued upon completion of the course evaluation and post-test with a score of 80% or better.

Release Date: 8/1/2017
Expiration Date: 8/1/2018

  • Laboratory Utilization Management
  • Laboratory Utilization Management Team
  • Laboratory Utilization Issues and Potential Solutions
  • Genetic Testing
  • Summary
  • References
  • Graded Exam

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It is the policy of the AAFP and COLA Resources, Inc. that the faculty, authors, planners, and other persons who may influence content of this CME activity disclose all relevant financial relationships with commercial interests* in order to allow CME staff to identify and resolve any potential conflicts of interest. Faculty must also disclose any planned discussions of unlabeled/unapproved uses of drugs or devices during their presentation(s). For this educational activity all conflicts of interests have been resolved and detailed disclosures are listed below:

Activity Planner and Course Reviewer: Verlin K. Janzen, MD, FAAFP

No relevant financial relationships to disclose, No discussion of unlabeled/unapproved uses of drugs/devices during presentation.

* The ACCME defines a commercial interest as any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients The ACCME does not consider providers of clinical service directly to patients to be commercial interests.

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