Appropriate laboratory testing is critical in today's healthcare environment that aims to improve patient care while reducing cost.
In recent years, laboratory stewardship has emerged as a strategy for assuring quality in laboratory medicine with the goal of providing the right test, for the right patient, at the right time. Implementing a laboratory stewardship program now presents a valuable opportunity for laboratory professionals to exercise leadership within health systems and to drive change toward realizing aims in healthcare.
The proposed framework for program implementation includes 5 key elements:
- A clear vision and organizational alignment
- Appropriate skills for program execution and management
- Resources to support the program
- Incentives to motivate participation
- A plan of action that articulates program objectives and metrics
This framework builds upon principles of change management, with emphasis on engagement with clinical and administrative stakeholders and the use of clinical data as the basis for change. These strategies enable laboratory professionals to cultivate organizational support for improving laboratory use and take a leading role in providing high-quality patient care.