To determine the reliability of specimen interpretation by outpatient laboratories, 150 consecutive specimens from three family practice centers were analyzed by either two laboratory technicians (n=99) or two family physicians (n=51). The results showed good to excellent agreement for contamination (defined as five or more epithelial cells per highpower field) or significant pyuria (five or more white blood cells per high-power field) or hematuria (five or more red blood cells per high-power field). Agreement between laboratory technicians did not differ significantly from agreement between physicians for the interpretation of contamination or pyuria, but for hematuria, agreement was higher between technicians (P=.02). These results suggest that outpatient interpretation of microscopic urine specimens shows levels of interrater agreement similar to or better than other tests that have been evaluated.
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