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
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