n South African Medical Journal - Containing costs in the era of National Health Insurance - the need for and importance of demand management in laboratory medicine : editorial

Volume 103, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



The implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme will place pathology services under increased pressure. Improvement of access to healthcare will increase demand for diagnostic testing, both for clinical diagnosis in disease states and for screening of healthy people. It is unlikely that the publicly funded budgets for pathology diagnostic services under the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) will increase to keep up with the demand. Furthermore, developments in new tests and the introduction of new technology in laboratory medicine will increase the overall costs. Coupled with the progressive decline in the teaching of pathology and laboratory medicine in the undergraduate curriculum, there is likely to be a tendency towards inappropriate usage of laboratory tests in clinical management.

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