The ANA Profile: quality and cost-effective laboratory utilization
The ANA Profile was introduced in 1981 and computerized in 1984 as a means of facilitating follow-up testing for specific antibodies (anti-nDNA, anti-Sm, anti-RNP, anti-La/SS-B) in sera found to contain antinuclear antibodies (ANA). A second purpose was to avoid unnecessary specific antibody testing on negative or low-titer sera. This study was done to evaluate the effectiveness of the computerized ANA Profile reporting system in accomplishing these purposes. The authors compared ordering practices during two two-week periods, one in 1984 and a second in 1988, and found that follow-up testing on positive sera had improved from 2 7% to 7 0% with a reduction in unnecessary specific-antibody testing of ANA-negative or low-titer sera from 11% to 1.6%. In 1988 dollars, the annual savings from eliminating unnecessary testing was calculated to be $12,000. The ANA Profile has been partially successful in accomplishing the purposes for which it was introduced.