Ordering the Right Lab Test: It all begins with the Right Test Name


Names for lab tests have traditionally been chosen by clinical pathologists and scientists. While these test names make perfect sense to anyone in the clinical laboratories, that is not always the case with clinicians. Clinicians often order the wrong test or a sub-optimal test, or more tests than necessary, because the relevant test names are unclear or obscure. Often the wrong orders lead to safety and quality issues. Many hospital Utilization Management (UM) or Lab Stewardship efforts focus on correcting such test names, which is typically a slow and non-trivial process, as no standardized lab names exist.

This talk will discuss solutions to non-standard lab names, namely, TRUU-Lab, a collaborative effort among pathologists, clinicians, professional organizations, accreditation agencies, large reference labs and terminology groups to create a consensus guideline for giving laboratory test more rational and consistent names. The ultimate goal is to bring this consistency and ease of use into electronic health records (EHR) and laboratory information systems (LIS).

Originally published on June 6, 2019

Lecture Presenter

Ila Singh, MD, PhD

Ila Singh, MD, PhD

Chief, Laboratory Medicine
Texas Children's Hospital
Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. Ila Singh serves as Chief of Laboratory Medicine in the Department of Pathology at Texas Children’s Hospital and as tenured Professor of Pathology & Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Singh completed her M.D. at the University of Bombay, and her Ph.D. at Yale University. She served as the Jane Coffin Childs Fellow at Stanford University and completed her Clinical Pathology residency training at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Singh has served as Assistant Professor and Attending at Columbia University Medical Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital; as Associate Professor and Medical Director at University of Utah and ARUP Laboratories, and as tenured professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Vice Chair of Clinical Pathology and Medical Director of the Clinical Laboratories for the Mount Sinai Health System.

Dr. Singh has two major research interests. The first is her focus on laboratory test stewardship, and on the mechanisms used to optimize the type and frequency of physician test orders to achieve better clinical outcomes and reduce waste. Her second interest is clinical informatics and the use of machine learning to determine key drivers in healthcare.

Dr. Singh is leading a national initiative to give rational and easily understood names to lab tests. She is board-certified in Clinical Pathology and in Clinical Informatics.


After this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize that many Lab Test Utilization Management/Stewardship programs utilize Lab Test Name Change as a major tool
  • Recognize that the names of lab tests lead to considerable confusion in ordering
  • Analyze and participate in a process to create lab test names that are easy to understand, use, make widely available

Sponsored by:

University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, and ARUP Laboratories