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February 2013

Best Tests

Best tests? The general principles of laboratory investigations in primary care

Laboratory tests are essential for the diagnosis and management of many conditions. However, laboratory tests do not provide clinical value in every scenario, and in some cases, may even cause harm. Before a laboratory test is requested, clinicians should consider the aim of the test and have a clear understanding of how the result will be interpreted and how the patient’s management will be affected by the result. Understanding the clinical situations where laboratory testing may be problematic can help to improve the overall approach to testing. View Article

Reproductive hormones: The right test, at the right time, for the right patient

Understanding the physiology of reproductive hormones, recognising pathology and knowing what tests to order, when to order them and how to interpret the results can be daunting. Hormone tests provide important information when applied appropriately, but often they are used without a clearly thought out diagnostic pathway, or in response to patient demand, rather than being tailored to the right patient in the right situation. In such situations, hormone tests will, at best, be of no clinical use, and at worst, lead to anxiety and uncertainty. We look at some of the more common applications of hormone tests in the general practice setting. View Article