Data Impact Challenge Question 1

Question 1:  What is the rate of repeated laboratory tests within a ninety (90) day period?

At the health system level, there is not sufficient information about the nature of laboratory testing occurring across all settings in Canada, or the appropriateness of the current utilization patterns.

This question examines some foundational information gaps relating to laboratory test utilization: the total volume of laboratory activity occurring across public and private testing facilities, and all settings for a defined patient population, and the frequency within which tests are repeated.

While it is understood that sometimes repeated tests are required for clinical reasons, at other times they are repeated because earlier results are not readily available. An example of a US study examining a similar question for diagnostic imaging found that 7.7% of images were repeated within 90 days.


Through the Data Impact Challenge, six submissions were received in response to this question. The first submission was received within two weeks following the Challenge launch date. There was geographic diversity within the submissions with population scopes from Ontario, Nova Scotia, Calgary, and British Columbia.

The scope of tests ranged from inpatient to outpatient with some submissions focusing on specific laboratory tests, such as TSH and HbA1c. The aggregate sample size for all submissions was approximately 125 million laboratory tests.

Guiding Specifications

Numerator: Number of times a patient has the same laboratory test (public and private across all settings) for a specific geographic area or patient population within 90 days
Denominator: Total number of laboratory tests (public and private across all settings) for the same specific geographic area or patient population
Sample: Minimum sample size of 100,000 tests. Sample must represent a defined geographic area or other patient population and include all tests conducted for that population (public and private,
inpatient and outpatient)
Timeframe: Analysis should include at least one year of data, which is no more than five (5) years old.

Participating Teams


Team bio: Analytics2Intelligence team specializes in ‘big’ health data analytics; deriving actionable insights using advance computational techniques to improve healthcare.
Entry: PDF


Alberta Laboratory Utilization Office

HealthyFamiliesHamiltonLogoTeam bio: The Alberta Health Services Laboratory Utilization Office provides data support and analyses regarding ‎laboratory test utilization in Alberta, and is made up of researchers and operational leaders.
Entry: PDF



Team bio: Team members are epidemiologists, medical microbiologists, and informatics specialists from within the BC Provincial Health Services Authority.
Entry: PDF



 width=Team bio: Our team, with representation from clinical, informatics, scientific and business development, is insightful and committed to making a difference in people’s lives.
Entry: PDF


Health Quality Innovation Collaborative

Team bio: The Health Quality Innovation Collaborative (HQIC) team is composed of clinicians, project managers, developers and a graphic artist.
Entry: PDF


Western Π-rates

Team bio: We are an interdisciplinary team of physicians, biostatisticians, and epidemiologists with a vision to create information that increases healthcare efficiency and improves patient safety.
Entries: PDF