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Evidence to Improve Care

Ferritin Testing

Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee Recommendations

  • The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends removing ferritin from the Ontario laboratory requisition form.

  • The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends adding ferritin to the antenatal form 1 to ensure appropriate screening of asymptomatic pregnant women in accordance to guidelines.

  • The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends restricting ferritin testing to individuals with the following conditions:

    • suspected iron overload

    • unexplained iron deficient anemia

    • asymptomatic pregnant females

    • suspected chronic blood loss

Read the full OHTAC Recommendation report

Iron levels in the blood that are too low (iron deficiency anemia) or too high (iron overload) can be a sign of a serious health problem. Ferritin testing is the most common way to measure iron levels in the blood. In 2010/11, about 3.5 million ferritin tests were done in Ontario.

Health Quality Ontario Reviews Ferritin Testing

Health Quality Ontario reviewed the evidence to find out who would benefit most from ferritin testing for iron deficiency or iron overload.

Ferritin Testing: A Rapid Review (PDF)
December 2012

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The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted this recommendation.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: The ferritin test was removed from the Ontario Laboratory Requisition form in November 2012.

Health Technology Assessment at Health Quality Ontario

As part of our core function to promote health care supported by the best available evidence, we use established scientific methods to analyze the evidence for a wide range of health interventions, including diagnostic tests, medical devices, interventional and surgical procedures, health care programs and models of care. These analyses are informed by input from a range of individuals, including patients and clinical experts. The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee — a committee of the Health Quality Ontario board of directors — reviews the evidence and makes recommendations about whether health care interventions should be publicly funded or not. Draft recommendations are posted on the Health Quality Ontario website for feedback. Final recommendations are approved by our board of directors and then shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more detailed information, visit our Evidence to Improve Care pages.


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