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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.

Will HHS Ruling on COVID-19 LDTs Be Good or Bad for Lab Reimbursement?

This is an excerpt of a 1,028-word article in the September 14, 2020 issue of THE DARK REPORT (TDR). The full article is available to members of The Dark Intelligence Group. WHILE SOME LABS CELEBRATE THE PERCEIVED FLEXIBILITY that comes from not having to get an …

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Coming Soon: a Different Clinical Lab Industry

“Keep your eye on the ball” is an idiom that originated with baseball. The idea is that every player on the field should, at all times, know where the ball is so that they can be ready to do their job when the ball comes their way. This is excellent advice for clinical lab administrators and…

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Understanding COVID-19’s Changes to Lab Industry

CEO SUMMARY: With the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic about to enter its eighth month in the United States, it remains difficult to predict whether the pandemic will strengthen with the fall influenza season or steadily diminish. What is clear to most pathologists and clinical laboratory executiv…

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Texas Company Operates 400 COVID-Collection Sites

CEO SUMMARY: In April, the federal Department of Health and Human Services contracted with eTrueNorth to operate COVID drive-through specimen-collection sites under the Community- Based Testing Sites program. The drive-through sites are an extension of non-COVID testing the company ha…

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Franciscan Missionaries Sells Lab Outreach Business to LabCorp

SINCE THE ONSET OF THE PANDEMIC IN LATE FEBRUARY, the nation’s two largest clinical lab companies have announced only two acquisitions of hospital laboratory outreach programs, one in June and one this month. Last week, LabCorp announced its acquisition of the clinical ambu…

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New York Firm to Build CLIA Labs in Shipping Containers

CEO SUMMARY: In many respects, the COVID-19 pandemic is like a gold rush for entrepreneurs. Federal and state governments, colleges, employers, school districts, and other entities need COVID-19 tests and tens of billions of dollars are available to pay for such tests. This modern gol…

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Covid-19 Pandemic May Be Creating New IVD Winners and Losers

WITH THE PANDEMIC NOW IN ITS NINTH MONTH, in vitro diagnostics (IVD) company executives and industry consultants recognize the market for clinical laboratory instruments, tests, and products is changing in fundamental ways. “Evidence accumulates that the pandemic is helping create …

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Is HHS Ruling on COVID-19 LDTs Negative for Lab Reimbursement?

WHILE SOME LABS CELEBRATE THE PERCEIVED FLEXIBILITY that comes from not having to get an emergency use authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 laboratory-developed tests (LDTs), there is a potential downside—difficulty getting reimbursed for the test. On Aug. 19, the Department of Health and Human S…

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Quest Reports 46% Decline in New Cancer Diagnoses in March

ONCE SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDERS WERE ENACTED IN MARCH because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of new diagnoses of cancer declined sharply in the United States. Newly-published data confirms this fact. The data also support the warnings of anatomic pathologists that—because of the pandemi…

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Wisconsin Lab Network Feeds Valuable Data to State Health Lab

CEO SUMMARY: From the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 138-member Wisconsin Clinical Laboratory Network has reported to the state health lab the number of COVID-19 tests, the number of positive results, as well as other data that includes data on lab testing supplies and ca…

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