A Laboratory Utilization Perspective on Pain Medication Compliance Testing

April 27, 2016

How to Minimize Risk & Maximize Patient Care

Frederick Strathmann, PhD, charts out strategies to shape test utilization in pain management in a recent MedicalLab Management article. “The challenges faced by physicians in their effort to help patients manage chronic pain are compounded by the challenges the laboratory faces in test design,” states Strathmann, medical director of Toxicology and associate scientific director of Mass Spectrometry at ARUP.

Strathmann points out that to properly design such tests you need a clear understanding of the patient population you are serving and the physician group that will interpret the results. While he notes that with ever-evolving technologies perfecting these tests will always be a work in progress, efforts can be taken now to effectively streamline the flow and accuracy of results to physicians and then patients.

“The need for a wide range of risk stratification elucidates the idea that a one-size-fits-all test is not likely to be successful in providing proper utilization … It becomes clear that in the design of the test offering, it is necessary to incorporate multiple strategies.”

Frederick Strathmann, PhD
Medical Director, Toxicology and Associate Scientific Director, Mass Spectrometry

ARUP provides an extensive menu of toxicology testing, encompassing pain management, illicit drugs, neonatal drug testing, and therapeutic drug monitoring. Three board-certified toxicologists, all University of Utah faculty, help advance workflow and method development to offer appropriate, cost-effective tests that align with patient care. “We offer several conventional and non-conventional approaches to pain management compliance testing to best fit the needs of the diverse patient populations in this arena,” says Strathmann.