January 2014 Clinical Laboratory News: Volume 40, Number 1
AACC Calls for Uniformity in Lab Test Results
Harmonization Essential to Improving Patient Care
AACC has released a position statement on harmonization of clinical laboratory test results to help patients receive appropriate diagnoses and medical treatment. In this statement, the association provides guidance on how medical community stakeholders can help the efforts of the International Consortium for Harmonization of Clinical Laboratory Results, an oversight body formed by AACC to manage the worldwide harmonization endeavor.
The few laboratory tests that have been standardized or harmonized to date, such as those for cholesterol, glucose, and hemoglobin A1c, have markedly improved diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, harmonizing these tests may reduce healthcare spending. As a striking example, the initiative to standardize cholesterol tests only cost $1.7 million per year, while the health benefits it has yielded now save more than $338 million annually.
“Results of patient lab tests should be comparable regardless of the method used, the time they were analyzed, or the laboratory that produced them,” said AACC President Robert H. Christenson, PhD. “Especially in situations where doctors depend on several risk factors in addition to test results to make treatment decisions, there cannot be discrepancies between test results if they are to be useful within the context of a patient’s overall health and medical history.”
AACC’s position statement on harmonizing clinical laboratory test results is the first of a planned compendium of such statements that will detail the association’s stance on important healthcare issues.
The full statement is available on the AACC website. Visit www.aacc.org/gov/gov_affairs/Documents/Position_Statement-Harmonization_V11.pdf.