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A histology definition states that histology is a branch of anatomy that deals with the minute structure of animal and plant tissues as discernible with the microscope. It is also called microscopic anatomy, as opposed to gross anatomy, which involves structures that can be observed with the naked eye.

Histological studies are often carried out by examining a thin slice (called a “section”) of tissue under a light microscope or an electron microscope on a prepared slide. In order to distinguish different biological structures more easily and accurately, histological stains are often used to add colors to or enhance the colors of certain types of biological structures differently from other types of structures.

Histopathology, the microscopic study of diseased tissue, is an important tool in anatomical pathology, since accurate diagnosis of cancer and other diseases usually requires histopathological examination of samples. Trained physicians, frequently licensed clinical pathologists, are the personnel who perform histopathological examination and provide diagnostic information based on their observations. The trained personnel who prepare histological specimens for examination are histotechnicians, histology technicians (HT), histology technologists (HTL), medical scientists, medical laboratory technicians or biomedical scientists. Their field of study is called histotechnology.

Staining is employed because biological tissue has little inherent contrast in either the light or electron microscope. Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E stain) is the most commonly used light microscopical stain in histology and histopathology. Hematoxylin, a basic dye, stains nuclei blue due to an affinity to nucleic acids in the cell nucleus; eosin, an acidic dye, stains the cytoplasm pink. Uranyl acetate and lead citrate are commonly used to impart contrast to tissue in the electron microscope.

There are many other staining techniques that have been used to selectively stain cells and cellular components.

The word “histology” is derived from two Greek words, histo=”tissue” and logos=”study.”

Alverno Labs Adds Eight Hospitals to Its Network

CEO SUMMARY: In September, Alverno Laboratories, one of the largest networks of regional laboratories in the Midwest, added two Chicago hospital laboratories and six other hospital labs from the AMITA Health system to its network. The additional AMITA Health facilities joined Alverno as a result of health system consolidation. The consolidation of hospitals into health

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OIG Finds 120-Day Delays at Memphis VA Path Lab

CEO SUMMARY: Last year, Veterans Administration officials received an anonymous complaint about delays in laboratory specimen processing and results at the Memphis VA Medical Center may have harmed patients and led to a patient death. Following an investigation, the VA’s Office of Inspector General issued a report last month. It determined that a staff shortage

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AP Practices Cautioned to Focus on Expenses

CEO SUMMARY: Reviewing an AP practice’s expenses is vitally important today when payers are cutting reimbursement. In the past, government and private payers paid more for the technical and professional components of anatomic pathology work, but those rates have eroded. While conversations about revenue tend to obscure the need to talk about expenses, effective financial

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AP Groups Can Protect Revenue, Pathologist Compensation

CEO SUMMARY: Many anatomic pathology groups are watching their revenue decline and margins shrink on the same or greater case volume. These trends make it imperative to have a deeper understanding of the operational and financial variables that contribute to stability in the group’s finances and pathologist compensation. One expert on the financial complexity of anatomic

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Wake Forest Baptist Lab’s Path Errors Teach Lessons

CEO SUMMARY: For medical directors and pathologists interested in improving their labs’ compliance with CLIA regulations, a report from federal and state inspectors of an inspection of the pathology lab at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center offers insights into what issues caught the inspectors’ attention. During their visit in February, the government lab inspectors

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Wake Forest Baptist Hospital Reviewing Path Lab Deficiencies

CEO SUMMARY: In response to information the staff provided to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital’s risk manager last fall, and following a federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services inspection in February, CMS describes deficiencies found as “an immediate jeopardy to the health and safety of patients” at the 885-bed hospital. THE DARK REPORT’s analysis shows

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CMS Report, News Stories Describe Pathology Issues

CEO SUMMARY: In response to information the pathology lab staff provided to the hospital’s risk manager last fall, and following a federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services inspection in February, the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is taking corrective action to fix serious deficiencies in its anatomic pathology laboratory. In reports issued in February

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