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How Medical Professionals Use Laboratory Data in Disease Management

written by: angiem1981•edited by: Diana Cooper•updated: 10/29/2010

Despite popular belief, all those tests that your physician may order are not only for precautionary or diagnostic purposes. As a matter of fact, disease management and laboratory data go hand in hand. These criteria can identify treatment issues and progression of the disease, just to name a few.

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    The Importance of Disease Management and Laboratory Data

    Although there are many different lab tests, even some of the simplest can provide important clues to the health care team when it comes to disease management. This can include whether or not treatment for the disorder is effective, how well the patient is responding to medications or interventions and what route of action may need to be taken next. In addition to this, lab results can indicate vital information regarding the disease process, such as whether or not the condition is progressing or improving. Regardless of the health care setting, lab tests and their results are commonly used in the treating, monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of disease management.

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    Providing Evidence Based Practice

    Health care providers utilize lab findings to provide care and treatment that has been proved to be effective for certain groups of people. This practice, referred to as evidence based practice, helps ensure that the patient is receiving the best possible treatment for his or her particular problem. Laboratory testing and results may often be necessary to monitor the patient after certain treatments, especially when medications are utilized for disease management. For example, a drug used to treat a specific disease may cause other problems within the body for some patients. Determining risk factors for the development of these adverse effects can help the physician determine whether or not this is the best course of action for the individual. Examples of common lab data used to do so may include a complete blood count (CBC), liver function tests and urinalysis.

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    Role of Disease Management and Laboratory Data in Pharmacogenomics

    Pharmacogenomics is the branch of science dealing specifically with pharmacological treatments and how drugs are metabolized in the body. Laboratory tests and data are very significant in managing disease through the use of medications. As previously mentioned, the health care team may use this information to determine whether or not a drug is appropriate for treatment, however, there is much more to the process than this. Medical professionals may use laboratory tests and there results to draw on conclusions related to the drug’s efficiency, dosage and the therapeutic effect. This ensures that the patient is receiving the best pharmacological drug for his or her condition, in the right amounts.

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    Other Considerations for Medical Use of Lab Data

    Laboratory data can be critical for clinical decision making, even in an emergency. Physician’s offices, hospitals and clinics often maintain what is called baseline data in the patient record. Deviation from the patient’s normal levels can be used by medical professionals in the event that complications may arise. As a matter of fact, this can even indicate the type of complication that the patient may be experiencing, allowing for the appropriate decisions regarding treatment to be made.

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    Bibliography

    Evidence-Based Approach to Medicine Improves Patient Care. Lab Tests Online. www.labtestsonline.org Modified 22, October 2010. Viewed 29, October 2010. http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/features/ebm-3.html

    Phamacogenomics: Predicting Which Drugs Will Work and Which Won’t. Lab Tests Online. www.labtestsonline.org Modified 22, October 2010. Viewed 29, October 2010. http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/features/pharmacogenomics.html