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Methodology for constructing guidance
  1. W S A Smellie1,
  2. D I Finnigan2,
  3. D Wilson2,
  4. D Freedman4,
  5. C A M McNulty5,
  6. G Clark3
  1. 1Clinical Laboratory, General Hospital, Cockton Hill Road, Bishop Auckland, County Durham DL14 6AD, UK
  2. 2PRODIGY, Sowerby Centre for Health Informatics, Second Floor, Bede House, All Saints Business Park, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2EB, UK
  3. 3Public Health Laboratory, County Hospital, Hereford, Herefordshire HR1 2ER, UK
  4. 4Department of Biochemistry, Luton and Dunstable Hospital, Luton, Bedfordshire LU4 ODZ, UK
  5. 5Health Protection Agency, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Great Western Road, Gloucester, Gloucestershire GL1 3NN, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr W S A Smellie
 Clinical Laboratory, General Hospital, Cockton Hill Road, Bishop Auckland, County Durham DL14 6AD, UK;


Although guidance exists for the use of many laboratory tests in a wide range of clinical situations, this guidance is spread among a range of literature sources, and is often directed at laboratory specialists rather than test users. Individual general practices display large variations in standardised test requesting, yet much of their testing activity involves a relatively small range of tests. This paper describes a methodological approach to review the available evidence and guidance and to extract relevant primary research work to examine a range of testing scenarios in general practice, with the aim of formulating guidance based on the best available evidence or consensus opinions.

  • appropriateness
  • best practice
  • evidence based pathology
  • multidisciplinary

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