Utilization of biological variation data in the interpretation of laboratory test results – survey about clinicians’ opinion and knowledge

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Emre H. O., Karpuzoglu F. H., Coskun C., Sezer E. D., Ozturk O. G., Ucar F., ...More

Biochemia Medica, vol.31, no.1, pp.1-10, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 31 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.11613/bm.2021.010705
  • Journal Name: Biochemia Medica
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Central & Eastern European Academic Source (CEEAS), EMBASE, MEDLINE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-10
  • Keywords: biological variation, laboratory error, patient safety, reference change value, CRITICAL-APPRAISAL, MEDICINE, CHECKLIST, ERRORS
  • Lokman Hekim University Affiliated: No


© 2021, Biochemia Medica, Editorial Office. All rights reserved.Introduction: To interpret test results correctly, understanding of the variations that affect test results is essential. The aim of this study is: 1) to evaluate the clinicians’ knowledge and opinion concerning biological variation (BV), and 2) to investigate if clinicians use BV in the interpretation of test results. Materials and methods: This study uses a questionnaire comprising open-ended and close-ended questions. Questions were selected from the real-life numerical examples of interpretation of test results, the knowledge about main sources of variations in laboratories and the opinion of clinicians on BV. A total of 399 clinicians were interviewed, and the answers were evaluated using a scoring system ranked from A (clinician has the highest level of knowledge and the ability of using BV data) to D (clinician has no knowledge about variations in laboratory). The results were presented as number (N) and percentage (%). Results: Altogether, 60.4% of clinicians have knowledge of pre-analytical and analytical variations; but only 3.5% of them have knowledge related to BV. The number of clinicians using BV data or reference change value (RCV) to interpret measurements results was zero, while 79.4% of clinicians accepted that the difference between two measurements results located within the reference interval may be significant. Conclusions: Clinicians do not use BV data or tools derived from BV such as RCV to interpret test results. It is recommended that BV should be included in the medical school curriculum, and clinicians should be encouraged to use BV data for safe and valid interpretation of test results.