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Year : 1997  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-45

Utilization of laboratory investigations in primary health care centers in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia

1 Primary Health Care Center, Madain Al-Fahd, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Family & Community Medicine, King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Nabil Y Kurashi
College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, King Faisal University, P.O. Box 2114, Dammam
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 23008564

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Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the pattern of utilization of laboratory investigations in the Al-Khobar area of Saudi Arabia. Material and Methods : A two-stage sampling design was used to select a Family Health Records checklist. At the first stage, 5 Primary Health Care Centers were selected out of 9 using a random sampling method. A Family Health Records checklist was selected using a systematic sampling design from each selected Primary Health Care Center at the first stage. Results : The results showed that laboratory investigations were used for 49% of the sample population tested. Of these, 84% recorded a maximum of 3 laboratory tests. In over half of the cases, the tests were inappropriately utilized, 3 7.8% were underutilized and 13.2% were over-utilized. There was no significant difference in the pattern of utilization between males and females and between Saudi and non-Saudi patients. However, laboratory services were utilized more for patients above the age of 40 years, where an average of 2.1 tests per patient was re­corded. Conclusion : There was a significant difference between primary health care centers regarding pattern of laboratory utilization. Respiratory disease ac­counted for the majority of the health problems, followed by diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Microbiology was the most heavily used investigation followed by biochemistry and hematology. Urinalysis was the most frequently requested test followed by blood glucose and complete blood count (CBC). This study high­lighted the problems in the utilization of laboratory investigations and led to a number of solutions and recommendations.

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