Cost of Unnecessary Amylase and Lipase Testing at Multiple Academic Health Systems

Jacob P. Ritter, Federico M. Ghirimoldi, Laura S.M. Manuel, Eric E. Moffett, Thomas J. Novicki, James C. McClay, Paula K. Shireman, Bradley B. Brimhall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine adherence to Choosing Wisely recommendations for using serum lipase to diagnose acute pancreatitis rather than amylase, avoiding concurrent amylase/lipase testing and avoiding serial measurements after the first elevated test as both are ineffective for tracking disease course. Methods: Deidentified laboratory data from four large health systems were analyzed to determine concurrent testing rates, serial testing rates, and provider-ordering patterns. Results: While most providers adhered to recommendations with 58,693 lipase-only tests ordered and performed, 86% of amylase tests were performed concurrently with lipase. Ambulatory, inpatient, and emergency department settings revealed concurrent rates of 51%, 41%, and 8%, respectively. Services with order sets containing both amylase and lipase were associated with higher rates of concurrent testing. Conclusions: Concurrent amylase/lipase testing is an area of opportunity to improve compliance, especially in ambulatory settings. Revision of order sets and provider education could be interventions to reduce unnecessary testing and save costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-352
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 8 2020


  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Choosing Wisely
  • Diagnosis
  • Laboratory utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Cost of Unnecessary Amylase and Lipase Testing at Multiple Academic Health Systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this