Choosing Wisely Psychiatry

Do we need labs to medically clear a patient for psych admission?

For most children requiring admission to an inpatient psychiatric facility laboratory studies are generally not required. Many of the children and adolescents being admitted already have an established mental or behavioral diagnosis, and a reassuring history and exam. The heterogeneity of clinical settings makes it challenging to establish processes that account for the needs of our patients while limiting the use of unnecessary resources broadly.

This podcast episode is designed to disseminate the important work of Choosing Wisely, an initiative of the the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, the goal of which is the spark conversations between clinicians and patients about what tests, treatments, and procedures are needed – and which ones are not.

The Choosing Wisely recommendation: Do not obtain screening laboratory tests in the medical clearance process of pediatric patients who require inpatient psychiatric admission unless clinically indicated

The Choosing Wisely Pediatric Emergency Medicine Recommendations

The Choosing Wisely Campaign Toolkit


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Donofrio JJ, Horeczko T, Kaji A, Santillanes G, Claudius I. Most routine laboratory testing of pediatric psychiatric patients in the emergency department is not medically necessary. Health Aff (Millwood). 2015;34(5):812-818

Chun TH. Medical clearance: time for this dinosaur to go extinct. Ann Emerg Med. 2014;63(6):676-677

Donofrio JJ, Santillanes G, McCammack BD, et al. Clinical utility of screening laboratory tests in pediatric psychiatric patients presenting to the emergency department for medical clearance. Ann Emerg Med. 2014;63(6):666-675.e663.

Santillanes G, Donofrio JJ, Lam CN, et al. Is medical clearance necessary for pediatric psychiatric patients? J Emerg Med. 2014;46(6):800-807

Santiago LI, Tunik MG, Foltin GL, Mojica MA. Children requiring psychiatric consultation in the pediatric emergency 

Berg JS, Payne AS, Wayra T, Morrison S, Patel SJ. Implementation of a Medical Clearance Algorithm for Psychiatric Emergency Patients. Hosp Pediatr (2023) 13 (1): 66–71