Test ordering in an evidence free zone: Rates and associations of Australian general practice trainees' Vitamin D test ordering

Amanda Tapley, Parker Magin, Simon Morgan, Kim Henderson, John Scott, Allison Thomson, Neil Spike, Lawrie McArthur, Mieke Van Driel, Patrick McElduff, Billie Bonevski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale, aims and objectives Indiscriminate health screening is increasingly seen as being problematic. In particular, Vitamin D testing rates are increasing rapidly despite recommendations against population screening. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of Vitamin D testing among family practice/general practitioner (GP) trainees and to establish associations of this testing. Methods Cross-sectional analysis of data from the ReCEnT (Registrars Clinical Encounters in Training) cohort study. The setting was GP practices in four Australian states. Data from 60 consecutive consultations per trainee were recorded each 6-month training term (up to four terms). Results Vitamin D tests were ordered in 726 (1.0%) of encounters (n = 69 412). Vitamin D test ordering was significantly associated with patients being older, female and non-English speaking. Trainees were more likely to test if they worked in a completely bulk-billing practice (i.e. a practice without any patient payment), if more problems were dealt with, more pathology tests were ordered in the consultation and if a lipid profile was ordered. They were less likely to test if they sought in-consultation advice or information. The most common reasons for testing were 'check-up' and 'health maintenance'. Conclusions In this first report of associations of Vitamin D testing in the GP setting, we found that non-targeted Vitamin D testing (testing inconsistent with current guidelines) is widespread in GP trainees' practice. Adoption of more rational testing approaches is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1156
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Education
  • evidence-based medicine
  • Family Practice
  • General Practice
  • Testing
  • Trainees
  • Vitamin D


Dive into the research topics of 'Test ordering in an evidence free zone: Rates and associations of Australian general practice trainees' Vitamin D test ordering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this