Reflex test

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A reflex test is a type of laboratory test ordered when the results of an initial test indicate additional testing is necessary. The reflex test can be ordered by a lab technician in response to analyzed results or ordered automatically by an automated system. Examples of tests that may require a reflex test include that that check for the presence of human papillomavirus (a DNA virus) or cryoglobulins (proteins that become insoluble at a certain temperature).[1][2]

In 1998, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General stated the following about the reflex test:

Reflex testing occurs when initial test results are positive or outside normal parameters and indicate that a second related test is medically appropriate. In order to avoid performing unnecessary reflex tests, labs may want to design their requisition form in such a way which would only allow for the reflex test when necessary.[3]

Many clinical laboratories have opted to generate their own listing of specific tests they'll offer reflex testing for.[1][2] Though less common, users of modern laboratory information systems may optionally use built-in medical necessity checking tools in order to minimize excess reflex testing.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Confirmation and Reflex Testing". Regional Medical Laboratory. https://www.rmlonline.com/site/sections/76. Retrieved 09 August 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Reflex Tests". Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/appendix/reflex-tests.html. Retrieved 09 August 2014. 
  3. "Publication of OIG Compliance Program Guidance for Clinical Laboratories" (PDF). Federal Register 63 (163): 45801. 24 August 1998. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-1998-08-24/pdf/98-22559.pdf. Retrieved 09 August 2014.