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Healthcare Insights

Most common lab tests by procedure volume for different lab categories

Pathology and laboratory tests are medical procedures used to diagnose, monitor, and manage diseases and health conditions. These tests involve the analysis of samples, such as blood, urine, tissues, or body fluids, to provide valuable information about a patient’s health status.

Using the Atlas All-Payor Claims Dataset, we dig into the most common labs in the U.S. based on a percentage of procedure volume in 2022. We break down the lab tests across five popular categories: chemistry, microbiology, organ and disease-oriented panels, hematology and coagulation, and coronavirus diagnostic panels.

Most common laboratory tests by percentage of procedure volume

Lab category CPT code Description % of lab procedures in U.S. Explore dataset
Chemistry 83036HEMOGLOBIN GLYCOSYLATED A1C 9.30%Explore
Chemistry 84443ASSAY THYROID STIM HORMONE 7.70%Explore
Chemistry 83735ASSAY OF MAGNESIUM 4.40%Explore
Chemistry 82306VITAMIN D 25 HYDROXY 4.30%Explore
Chemistry 84484ASSAY OF TROPONIN QUANT 3.20%Explore
Microbiology87804INFLUENZA ASSAY W/OPTIC 9.00%Explore
Microbiology87426SARSCOV CORONAVIRUS AG IA 7.50%Explore
Microbiology87086URINE CULTURE/COLONY COUNT 7.00%Explore
Microbiology87635SARS-COV-2 COVID-19 AMP PRB 6.90%Explore
Microbiology87880STREP A ASSAY W/OPTIC 6.10%Explore
Organ or disease-oriented panels 80053COMPREHEN METABOLIC PANEL 45.30%Explore
Organ or disease-oriented panels 80061LIPID PANEL 25.30%Explore
Organ or disease-oriented panels 80048METABOLIC PANEL TOTAL CA 16.10%Explore
Organ or disease-oriented panels 80050GENERAL HEALTH PANEL 4.30%Explore
Hematology and coagulation85025COMPLETE CBC W/AUTO DIFF WBC 50.00%Explore
Hematology and coagulation85027COMPLETE CBC AUTOMATED 14.00%Explore
Hematology and coagulation85610PROTHROMBIN TIME 10.00%Explore
Hematology and coagulation85018HEMOGLOBIN 7.00%Explore
Hematology and coagulation85730THROMBOPLASTIN TIME PARTIAL 4.00%Explore
Coronavirus diagnostic panelU0005 Infec agen detec ampli probe 42.00%Explore
Coronavirus diagnostic panelU0003 Cov-19 amp prb hgh thruput 41.70%Explore
Coronavirus diagnostic panelU0004 Cov-19 test non-cdc hgh thru 13.10%Explore
Coronavirus diagnostic panelU0002 Covid-19 lab test non-cdc 3.10%Explore
Coronavirus diagnostic panelU0001 2019-ncov diagnostic p 0.20%Explore

Fig 1. Data is from the Definitive Healthcare Atlas All Payor Claims product for the calendar year 2022. Claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States and is updated monthly. Data accessed June 2023.

What are the most common lab tests?

Pathology and laboratory tests play a critical role in healthcare by aiding in disease diagnosis, monitoring treatment effectiveness, and guiding patient management. They provide information that helps healthcare professionals make accurate diagnoses, develop treatment plans, and improve patient outcomes. The data captured from laboratory claims also provides in-depth visibility into the lab order behavior of physicians.

Most common chemistry lab test

CPT 83036 (hemoglobin glycosylated A1c) was the most common chemistry lab test in 2022, with 9.3% of total procedures. It’s used to measure average blood glucose levels over time, typically reflecting a span of two to three months. This test is commonly used for monitoring and managing diabetes and provides information about long-term blood sugar control.

Most common microbiology lab test

CPT 87804 (influenza assay without optic) was the top microbiology lab test, with 9% of total procedures. This test is used to detect the presence of the influenza virus in a patient’s respiratory specimen, such as a nasal or throat swab. It helps providers diagnose and monitor influenza infections by identifying the specific strain of the virus. The “without optic” notation means that this test does not involve the use of optical or microscopic examination for analysis.

Most common organ or disease-oriented panels

CPT 80053 (comprehensive metabolic panel) was the top organ and disease-oriented panel lab test, with 45.3% of total procedures. This blood test provides a broad assessment of a patient’s overall metabolic health and organ function. A CMP typically includes a combination of tests to measure various components such as glucose, electrolytes, kidney function markers (such as blood urea nitrogen and creatinine), liver function markers (such as alanine aminotransferase and albumin), and other metabolic indicators. Providers often order a CMP as a routine screening test or to evaluate overall health status, monitor chronic conditions, or assess medication side effects.

Most common hematology and coagulation lab test

CPT 85025 (complete blood count with automated differential white blood cell count) was the most common hematology and coagulation lab test, with 50% of total procedures. It’s a blood test that offers comprehensive information about the different types of blood cells in a patient’s sample. The test measures various parameters, including:

  • Hemoglobin: Measures the amount of oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells.
  • Hematocrit: Determines the percentage of red blood cells in the total blood volume.
  • Red blood cell count: Quantifies the number of red blood cells in a given volume of blood.
  • White blood cell count: Determines the total number of white blood cells in the blood sample.
  • Platelet count: Measures the number of platelets responsible for blood clotting.

This information helps in evaluating the immune system and detecting any abnormalities or infections. It’s a crucial tool for diagnosing and monitoring a wide range of conditions, including infections, anemia, inflammatory disorders, and certain blood cancers. It also provides insights into a patient’s overall blood health.

Most common coronavirus diagnostic panel

CPT U0005 (infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); amplification probe technique, each organism detected) was the most popular coronavirus diagnostic panel lab test, with 42% of procedures. This code is used to detect specific infectious agents, such as viruses or bacteria, by targeting their nucleic acids (DNA or RNA).

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