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Clinical Pathologist

Clinical pathologists work in hospital labs and pathology groups to practice as consultant physicians, developing and applying knowledge of tissue and laboratory analyses to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of individual patients. As scientists, they use the tools of laboratory science in clinical studies, disease models, and other experimental systems, to advance the understanding and treatment of disease.

Clinical pathologists in a pathology group administer a number of visual and microscopic tests and an especially large variety of tests of the biophysical properties of tissue samples involving automated analyzers and cultures. Sometimes the general term “laboratory medicine specialist” is used to refer to those working in clinical pathology, including medical doctors, PhDs and doctors of pharmacology.

According to the world’s largest professional membership organization for clinical pathologists and laboratory professionals, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), “Pathologists are problem-solvers, fascinated by the process of disease and eager to unlock medical mysteries, like AIDS and diabetes, using the tools of laboratory medicine and its sophisticated instruments and methods. Pathologists make it possible to apply scientific advances to improve the accuracy and efficiency of medical diagnosis and treatment.”

Becoming a pathologist entails one of the lengthiest education and training tracks of all physicians. Requirements include four years of undergraduate study, plus four years of medical school, plus a minimum of four to five years of post-graduate training in pathology residency.

The American Board of Pathology certifies clinical pathologists, and recognizes the following secondary specialties of clinical pathology:

  • Chemical pathology, also called clinical chemistry
  • Hematopathology
  • Blood banking / transfusion medicine
  • Clinical microbiology
  • Cytogenetics
  • Molecular genetics pathology

Clinical pathologists work in close collaboration with clinical scientists (clinical biochemists, clinical microbiologists, etc.), medical technologists (MTs), clinical laboratory scientists (CLS), hospital administrators, and referring physicians to ensure the accuracy and optimal utilization of laboratory testing.

Clinical pathology is one of the two major divisions of pathology, the other being anatomic pathology. Often, pathologists practice both anatomical and clinical pathology, a combination sometimes known as general pathology.

According to the ASCP, “there are approximately 12,000 board certified pathologists in the U.S. who practice their specialty in community, university, and government hospitals and clinics, in independent laboratories, or in private offices, clinics, and other health care facilities.”

It’s a Clinical Lab Moment … But No Advocates!

Nearly every day since the onset of the SARS-C0V-2 outbreak, there have been stories in the national news about clinical laboratory testing for COVID-19. No laboratory professional alive today has seen such an endless stream of news stories about clinical lab testing. This is a once-in-a-lifetime …

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Is Pathology Workforce Stable or Shrinking?

CEO SUMMARY: After publishing research in JAMA Network Open showing a coming shortage of pathologists in the United States, the researchers heard from pathologists whose experience in the job market did not match what the researchers found. Anecdotal evidence indicates that the demand for…

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Paths of Hospital Labs, Independent Labs Diverge

CEO SUMMARY: With each passing year, the primary role of hospital and health system labs evolves in a different direction than that of independent lab companies. This trend is a response to the creation of integrated delivery networks paid on value and how they are scored on their ability…

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Big Payers Want to Bring Order to Genetic Testing

IMPORTANT CHANGES ARE POISED TO TRANSFORM genetic testing. As this happens, there will be a new crop of winners and losers among genetic testing labs. Recent events can be interpreted as favoring two trends that most genetic testing companies consider as unfavorable to their interests. One trend is …

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Cautious Optimism Seen At Executive War College

CEO SUMMARY: Among the major themes to emerge from the more than 60 sessions and 100 speakers at this year’s Executive War College on Lab and Pathology Management were the accelerating pace of integrated care, the growth of precision medicine, and use of big data to guide physicians. Ot…

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Are Clinical Labs Prepared for What Is to Come?

IT IS TIMELY TO ASK THE QUESTION, “Are the nation’s clinical laboratories prepared to deal with the multiple challenges already visible in the healthcare marketplace today?” What leads me to ask this question is the unexpected number of deals involving the hospital lab outreach programs announ…

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University of Michigan Pathologists Bet on Patient-Centered Care

CEO SUMMARY: At the University of Michigan Medical Center, the Department of Pathology is learning new ways to add value that include face-to-face meetings with patients as part of UMMC’s patient- and family-centered care initiative. One lesson learned is that patients appreciate the op…

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January 9, 2017 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

December 27 was the 100th birthday of pathologist Jan Steiner, MD, FRCP (C), FCAP, remembered by many long-serving lab executives and clinical pathologists as one of the co-founders, along with James Root, PhD, of Chi Laboratory Systems in the late 1980s. This was a time when he was…

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Theranos implosion was the first Big Story of 2016

This is an excerpt from a 3,200-word article in the December 19 issue of THE DARK REPORT. The complete article is available for a limited time to all readers, and available at all times to paid members of the Dark Intelligence Group. …

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Much Disruption for Labs In 2016’s Top 10 Stories

CEO SUMMARY: Within THE DARK REPORT’S list of the Top 10 Lab Industry Stories for 2016 is one story of disruption that might have been one story of disruption about to happen. The disintegration of Theranos during 2016 is the big story about a self-proclaimed disruptor of the lab indust…

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