A medical laboratory or 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.
In many countries, there are two main types of labs that process the majority of medical specimens. Hospital laboratories are attached to a hospital, and perform tests on patients. Private (or community) laboratories receive samples from general practitioners, insurance companies, clinical research sites and other health clinics for analysis.
These can also be called reference laboratories where more unusual and obscure tests are performed. These include Mayo Medical Laboratories, ARUP Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp. For extremely specialized tests, samples may go to a research laboratory. Many samples are sent between different labs for uncommon tests. It is more cost effective if a particular laboratory specializes in a rare test, receiving specimens (and money) from other labs, while sending away tests it cannot perform.
Laboratories today are held together by a system of software programs and computers that exchange data about patients, test requests, and test results known as a laboratory information system or LIS. The LIS is interfaced with the hospital information system.
This system enables hospitals and labs to order the correct test requests for each patient, keep track of individual patient or specimen histories, and help guarantee a better quality of results as well as printing hard copies of the results for patient charts and doctors to check.
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. In the United States, under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), accreditation of medical laboratories is done by the Joint Commission, College of American Pathologists, AAB (American Association of Bioanalysts), and other state and federal agencies. CLIA 88 or the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments also dictate testing and personnel.
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Our Editor-In-Chief just finished the daunting task of confirming 125 speakers for more than 80 sessions for our 24th annual Executive War College on Lab and Pathology Management. It is our biggest conference ever! These facts are significant to you for an important reason.
The planning phase for an Executive War College requires requires hundreds of
By any measure, it is tougher today for clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups to generate the revenue needed to deliver state-of-the-art diagnostic testing services while remaining financially viable. Four recent trends prove the point.
First, every year, the Medicare program and private health insurers are cutting the prices they pay for medical laboratory tests.