What you ask is an interesting puzzle.
At my facility, coders are expected to match the appropriate diagnoses to each lab exam. As you know--as with CBCs--there can sometimes be multiple diagnoses associated with one, single lab exam. However, the provider's orders (of which the progress note is not likely the official order) should clearly state the reason for the exam. This is not always carried out properly and can make the coders' job that much more tedious.
Ideally, coders should be able to "easily discern" which labs are ordered for particular diagnoses; also ideally, the providers will concisely record the diagnosis or reason the study is being requested (e.g., medical necessity). Depending on the organization of the facility or practice for which you're working, this may or may not exist in this state. Therefore, confirmation of an abnormal lab value, findings after study, associated signs/symptoms and the order are the coders' best resource for properly linking the codes together. As a last stop, it'd be the progress note, usually in the absence of appropriate or confirmed diagnoses through any of the previously mentioned routes.
Hope this helps.
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