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February 2014

Best Tests

The New Zealand Laboratory Schedule and Test Guidelines: Biochemistry tests

A new laboratory test schedule and accompanying referral guidelines have been developed for health care professionals in New Zealand. The Schedule and Guidelines were released to District Health Boards (DHBs) in October, 2013 and are also available online. The aim was to develop a consistent list of tests that are available and funded across DHBs. An article in Best Tests, Nov, 2013, introduced the new Test Schedule and explained how they have been developed. Tests have been categorised into general areas and then grouped depending on whether they are recommended as a test that can be ordered by any medical practitioner (Tier 1) or whether the test is restricted to specific clinicians (Tier 2). In this article Dr Cam Kyle and colleagues discuss the biochemistry tests grouping, and explain why some tests are restricted, why others are now outdated or lack evidence and some tests which are underutilised. View Article

Rural infections series: Investigating and managing people with diarrhoea

Campylobacter, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium and Giardia cause diarrhoeal illnesses in thousands of people annually in New Zealand. The incidence of these infections is significantly higher in New Zealand compared to most other developed nations. Animal, environmental and waterborne sources are a common cause of isolated illnesses and outbreaks, and exposure to these sources is a significant risk-factor for infection. This edition of the rural infections series focuses on these four notifiable pathogens, each of which causes a similar set of symptoms, and discusses the investigation and management of diarrhoeal illnesses in a person with rural occupation, residence or recent contact with animals or untreated water. View Article

Assessing and managing workplace exposure to chemicals

Contributed by Dr Chris Walls, Occupational Physician, Auckland View Article