Unnecessary pathology testing the focus of emerging research at Monash Health

Electronic Medical Records Benefits Fellow Dr Ai Li Yeo has received a competitive Monash Health emerging research fellowship in recognition of her research into unnecessary pathology testing.

Dr Yeo, who is also a Rheumatology Fellow and MPhil student at Monash University, will use the $15,000 fellowship to investigate the core systemic and behavioural drivers of unnecessary pathology testing at Monash Health.

“Unnecessary pathology testing is a key challenge for Monash Health, resulting in increased patient length of stay, inappropriate healthcare resource utilisation and a poor patient experience due to false positive results,” Dr Yeo said.

“As a Monash Health clinician, I am committed to conducting translational research which contributes to a sustainable healthcare system by targeting unwarranted variation in clinical care such as unnecessary pathology testing.”

“Monash Health is on the verge of implementing a world class integrated electronic medical record (EMR).”

“This has the potential to address many of the increasing challenges faced by the healthcare system; the pressure on the hospital budget due to an ageing population, advances in medical treatments (rarely less expensive) and increasing consumer expectations,” Dr Yeo said.

Monash Health is about to embark on a $100 million implementation of EMR.

Dr Yeo said the results of this project can be easily incorporated for economic benefit and improvement of patient care with immediate translational outcomes.

“As pathology test ordering is not only a problem for hospital inpatients, this study will characterise both inpatient and outpatient costs to a tertiary hospital,” Dr Yeo said. ​

“With our growing and ageing population, greater numbers of patients are receiving more frequent pathology testing.”

“This is an increasing burden on the government and hospitals, in terms of both cost and the infrastructure required to process such tests.”

This research will hopefully change the way we think about ordering investigations for our patients.” 
The findings from this Monash Health project will not only assist staff and patients at Monash Health but could be scaled to other healthcare networks to treat patients in a safer and more efficient manner.

Dr Yeo said she is honoured to have received recognition of her research idea through this fellowship, allowing her an opportunity to work in a field in which she is passionate.

She acknowledges the support of Associate Professor Ronnie Ptasznik, Associate Professor Michael FrancoDr Suong LeProfessor Eric Morand and Professor Michelle Leech.