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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


BULEY, H E; BISHOP, D  and  RODSETH, R. The appropriateness of preoperative blood testing: A retrospective evaluation and cost analysis. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2015, vol.105, n.6, pp.487-491. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND: Inappropriate preoperative blood testing can negatively contribute to healthcare costs OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent and cost implications of inappropriate preoperative blood testing in adult patients booked for orthopaedic, general or trauma surgical procedures at a regional hospital in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa (SA METHODS: We undertook a retrospective observational study using routine clinical data collected from eligible patient charts. The appropriateness of preoperative blood tests was evaluated against locally published guidelines on testing for elective and non-elective surgery. The cost of the relevant blood tests was determined using the National Health Laboratory Service 2014 State Pricing List RESULTS: A total of 320 eligible patient charts were reviewed over a 4-week period. Preoperative blood testing was performed in 318 patients. There was poor compliance with current departmental guidelines, with an estimated over-expenditure of ZAR81 019. Non-compliance was particularly prevalent in younger patients, patients graded as American Society of Anesthesiologists 1 and 2, and low-risk surgery groups CONCLUSION: Inappropriate preoperative blood testing is common in our hospital, particularly in low-risk patients. This is associated with an increase in healthcare costs, and highlights the need for SA doctors to become more cost-conscious in their approach to blood testing practices.

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