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Clinical Laboratory

A clinical laboratory is a laboratory where tests are done on clinical specimens in order to get information about the health of a patient as pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

Laboratory medicine is generally divided into two sections, each of which being subdivided into multiple units. These two sections are:

  • Anatomic pathology: Units included here are histopathology, cytopathology, and electron microscopy. Other disciplines pertaining to this section include anatomy, physiology, histology, pathology, and pathophysiology.
  • Clinical pathology, which includes:
    • Clinical Microbiology: This encompasses five different sciences. These include bacteriology, virology, parasitology, immunology, and mycology.
    • Clinical Chemistry: Units under this section include instrumental analysis of blood components, enzymology, toxicology and endocrinology.
    • Hematology: This section consists of automated and manual analysis of blood cells.
    • Genetics is also studied along with a subspecialty known as cytogenetics.
    • Reproductive biology: Semen analysis, Sperm bank and assisted reproductive technology.

Credibility of medical laboratories is paramount to the health and safety of the patients relying on the testing services provided by these labs. The international standard in use today for the accreditation of medical laboratories is ISO 15189.

Accreditation is done by the Joint Commission, College of American Pathologists, AAB (American Association of Bioanalysts), and other state and federal agencies. CLIA 88, the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, also dictate testing and personnel.

In addition, many clinical laboratories have adopted quality management programs such as Six Sigma and Lean quality to improve clinical quality, reduce turnaround time, cut costs, and boost productivity. Lean and Six Sigma are both process improvement methodologies. At a very basic level, Lean is about speed and efficiency, while Six Sigma is about precision and accuracy, leading to data-driven decisions. Lean and Six Sigma methods are finding numerous applications in anatomic pathology laboratories and pathology group practices.

FDA Says 8 of 11 Tests Fail in Serology Test Review

This is an excerpt of a 1,970-word article in the June 22, 2020 issue of THE DARK REPORT (TDR). The full article is available to members of The Dark Intelligence Group. CEO SUMMARY: After introducing some 200 serological assays onto the market in March and April with little or no review,…

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Where Is the FDA When Labs Need It Most?

LET’S START WITH AN ESSENTIAL FACT: in the management of almost every outbreak of a novel infectious disease, clinical laboratory tests will be essential in diagnosis of the disease, in monitoring the progress of an infected patient, and in determining if, once cured, a patient has immunity to tha…

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COVID-19 Serology Test Review: FDA Says 8 of 11 Tests Fail

CEO SUMMARY: After introducing some 200 serological assays onto the market in March and April with little or no review, as of this writing the FDA website lists only 77 serology tests. Of that number, 11 assays have been evaluated independently and eight of those 11 have been pulled from…

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Questions Arise as FDA Assesses Serology Tests

CEO SUMMARY: On June 4, the FDA released results of an evaluation of some of the 20 tests offered for sale in this country to identify antibodies for SARS-CoV-2. A quality control expert in clinical labs called the antibody test analysis deeply flawed in part because of the study’s …

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Health Insurers Push Back On COVID-19 Test Claims

CEO SUMMARY: Under new federal laws, health insurers are required to pay for testing for the novel coronavirus without cost-sharing, prior authorization, or medical management limits, but insurers are questioning these COVID-19 lab test bills and denying many of the claims, a healthca…

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Lab Buys More Instruments as Way to Add Test Volume

CEO SUMMARY: Severe shortages of supplies for COVID-19 lab testing caused one lab director in the Midwest to buy additional instruments while also validating five different COVID-19 tests to run on analyzers the lab used before the pandemic hit. While this strategy allowed the lab to …

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June 22, 2020 Intelligence: Late-Breaking Lab News

As they scramble to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal officials in multiple agencies are purchasing equipment and supplies from vendors with dubious credentials and little operating history. In recent days, Pro-Publica reported “a fledgling Texas company was paid $7.3 mil…

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COVID-19 Pandemic Erodes Cash Flow at Clinical Labs

This is an excerpt of a 1,209-word article in the June 1, 2020 issue of THE DARK REPORT (TDR). The full article is available to members of The Dark Intelligence Group. CEO SUMMARY: Every day, national news headlines scream about the shortage of SARS-CoV-2 lab tests needed to man…

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Where Does COVID-19 Take Clinical Labs Next?

It is easy to say that the current COVID-19 pandemic is a global event without precedent in human history. After all, what other event has caused airline travel to drop by 95%, ended all professional and amateur sports events worldwide, shuttered Broadway theaters and movie cinemas, closed all no…

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COVID-19 Pandemic Erodes Cash Flow at Clinical Labs

CEO SUMMARY: Every day, national news headlines scream about the shortage of SARS-CoV-2 lab tests needed to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, national news coverage has begun focusing on concerns about inaccurate or unreliable COVID-19 serology tests. But the story being…

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