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Journal of Automatic Chemistry
Volume 11, Issue 2, Pages 55-63

Patterns in clinical chemistry requests

1Central Laboratory for Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital Groningen, PO Box 30001, Groningen NL 9700 RB, The Netherlands
2Research Group Chemometrics, Pharmaceutical Laboratories, State University of Groningen, A. Deusinglaan 2, Groningen NL 9713 AW, The Netherlands
3Department of Information and Automation, University Hospital Groningen, PO Box 30001, Groningen NL 9700 RB, The Netherlands
4University of Groningen, Computing Centre, PO Box 800, Groningen NL 9700 AV, The Netherlands
5Agricultural Mathematics Group, PO Box 100, Wageningen NL-6700 AC, The Netherlands

Copyright © 1989 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


For each patient sample that is presented to the clinical chemistry laboratory a combination of various tests can be requested. This combination or profile will depend on the condition of the patient, and hence also on the requesting hospital department. Several techniques were applied to detect and describe patterns in tests requested by the cardiology, hepatology and nephrology sections of the out-patient's Department for Internal Medicine. Comparison of the frequencies of ordering the tests showed significant differences between these sections. Cluster analysis and multidimensional scaling were used to show similarities and differences in the test profiles that were used by the sections. These techniques are useful for generating hypotheses, but the statistical significance of the clustering found is difficult to assess.