Hospital for Small Animals

Improving Reliability of Diagnostic Tests

Developing approaches to improve test reliability

Diagnostic Woman

In house or point-of-care testing are commonly performed in veterinary practice to test for anaemia and urinary disorders.  Although these tests are routinely used, like all tests, they are subject to result variation either if different people run the same test or indeed the same person runs the test multiple times.  At the Hospital for Small Animals we investigated this variation in two of the most commonly used tests: testing for anaemia (packed cell volume) and urine dip-stick analysis.   In both of these simple tests we found that the results could vary to the point that different clinical decisions would be made for the patient.  For example, this could mean that a patient doesn’t get a blood transfusion when they need it or vice versa. We then produced standard procedure for performing these tests which significantly improved the repeatability and reliability of the results.  Adoption of these protocols within not only the hospital but also the wider veterinary community will improve clinical decision making and ultimately patient care.

Read the original research