“Lipase Only, Please”: Reducing Unnecessary Amylase Testing

Horatio Holzer, Adam Reisman, Kathryn E. Marqueen, A. Taylor Thomas, Anthony Yang, Andrew S. Dunn, Rachel Jia, Jashvant Poeran, Hyung J. Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Serum amylase testing is not recommended for the workup of acute pancreatitis; yet it is commonly ordered in acute care settings. Methods: This was a student-led quality improvement initiative with application of a pre-post study design at two urban hospitals: Mount Sinai Hospital, a 1,134-bed academic hospital, and Mount Sinai Queens, a 235-bed community hospital. The multifaceted intervention combined a targeted educational and awareness campaign with the decoupling of amylase from electronic order sets (at the academic hospital only), as well as a nonintrusive electronic medical record (EMR) advisory statement (at both hospitals). Monthly amylase orders were tracked for all emergency department visits and hospital admissions between January 2016 and May 2018 for both hospitals Results: There was a significant and sustained decrease in amylase ordering at both the academic hospital (from 3,214 orders per month to 2,348 orders per month; p = 0.011) and the community hospital (from 100 orders per month to 23 orders per month; p = 0.001). Specifically, the nonintrusive EMR order advisory statement was independently associated with a significant reduction in serum amylase ordering. There was an estimated net annual cost reduction of $44,999. Conclusions: This student-led initiative was successful in reducing unnecessary amylase ordering across two diverse institutions through a combination of education, publicity, and EMR changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-749
Number of pages8
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019


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