#15: The Importance of the Clinic/Lab Partnership
Sometimes when I sit to write these blogs I feel as though I may be preaching to the choir. After all, Abby emails these to clinics who send urine samples to the lab to be tested, so they most likely know the information I am attempting to deliver, right? Not so much! The questions we receive on a daily basis reinforce the necessity of the partnership the lab has with the clinics it serves. Our job is to deliver accurate information to the providers in order for them to make the best possible clinical decision for their patient. We take this seriously and writing this biweekly blog is a way to help insure we are assisting in the provider/patient relationship to the best of our ability. If there is a subject matter involving drug testing you would like to have discussed please let us know and we will make every effort to include that in a blog.
A toxicology report can be an intimidating bit of information to those unfamiliar with it. Many providers are unfamiliar with the complexities of UDT and therefore fail to use it. One study I recently read found that only 8% of family physicians performed UDT for patients they had on some form of chronic opioid therapy. The reasons given for the absence of testing were: the providers did not know which patients to test, how often to test them and what the results of the testing meant. Experience has taught me this is not limited to primary care physicians. Although it is not the lab’s job, nor are we allowed to practice medicine, I do think it is our responsibility to help educate providers on drug testing. This does not mean mark a requisition form telling them to test everything, but instead our responsibility is to deliver all of the objective and accurate information necessary enabling the provider to make the most appropriate medical decision for their patient.
Sadly, in many offices, urinary drug testing has become an inexpensive insurance policy for provider liability protection. Instead of using UDT as intended, many providers simply use UDT as a means to discharge patients from their practice. Clinically the benefits of UDT include reducing the risk for toxicity from adverse drug effects, detecting patient non-compliance, reducing risk of therapeutic failure and avoiding or detecting drug-drug interaction. As your toxicology lab we are here to assist you in taking advantage of those benefits. Although on occasion it becomes necessary, discharging patients helps no one. Please take advantage of the lab personnel cell phone list and let us help with your questions.
As always, we appreciate your business and thank you for it. I leave you with a quote from Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, it is a habit”.
President/CEO Industry Lab Diagnostic Partners