As laboratorians, we love to celebrate ASCP’s Annual Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (Lab Week). This year, Lab Week takes place April 23-29. Whether that means a week-long, robust food selection in your breakroom or light-hearted lab week games within your lab, it is always enjoyable to celebrate being a lab professional.
Not only do we celebrate our own lab, but we also recognize fellow labs of all shapes, sizes, and specialties and we praise their unique importance. Community, Academic, and Commercial laboratories are all of value to the patients they serve, and the strengths of each are commended. Molecular, oncology, virology, hematology, microbiology, chemistry, histology, and all additional lab types play a role in precision medicine.
Many healthcare professionals, and much of the general population, do not fully understand the complexity of the lab world and what it takes to deliver world class testing. Lab Week provides the chance to shed a light on the various laboratory professions to better understand how they each fit into the patient’s healthcare journey. We outline a handful here, but keep in mind there are many other roles who contribute to the success of lab testing. Phlebotomists are often considered the most patient facing lab personnel, as they collect specimens for the labs to analyze. They may also play a role in specimen shipping and distribution to other specialty or reference laboratories. Medical Laboratory Scientists or Biomedical Scientists perform the complex specimen preparation and testing using their training and knowledge of a wide variety of technical analysis platforms. They submit test results to a patient’s health record and escalate cases to their medical director or pathologist when necessary. Pathology Assistants perform the gross examination of tissues specimens, and they identify the ideal areas of the tissue based on the specific body site from which it was removed. Specimens they receive could be as large as an amputated limb or as small as a microscopic aspirate from an organ. Histotechnologists prepare tissue samples for staining and microscopic evaluation by the pathologist. They operate complex machines to ensure the pathologist is able to interpret the slides clearly and efficiently. Lab managers and lab supervisors of these various departments progressed to their leadership rolesutilizing their experience working within the lab. They oversee the technical aspects of their department as well as some administrative functions such as budgeting and team management. Finally, pathologists oversee the complete lab operation. They are medical doctors with a board certification and often training within one or multiple subspecialties. Pathologists diagnose patient samples in surgical pathology, molecular pathology, and cytopathology so they serve as consultants to the primary care doctors, surgeons, and oncologists. Pathologists are the driver of quality assurance within their lab, and they ensure their lab remains up to date on the latest test offerings in order toprovide patients with the highest probability of a favorable outcome.
While there are many different processes and protocols each of these lab professionals must follow, they each have the ability to impact patient outcomes with their own innovative thinking. Collaboration with each other and with external lab teams is critical to fulfil the promise of precision medicine.
The importance of test access has never had a greater impact than it does today. Test results have the power to influence or directly drive treatment decisions, and without those results, patients will miss out on the correct treatment decision. At Diaceutics, labs are placed at the forefront of developments in the precision medicine landscape. Using DXRX-The Diagnostic Network® we empower and inform labs to create rapid change to the patient diagnostic and treatment journey with collaborations and educational content. We honor laboratories across the globe for contributing to the promise of precision medicine because without accurate and timely laboratory results, patients would not have access to life altering nor lifesaving therapies.
Happy Lab Week from Diaceutics and thank you to all labs.
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