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.
TYPICALLY, PEOPLE CELEBRATE THE ARRIVAL OF A NEW YEAR and a new decade with optimism. That should be just as true for clinical lab managers and pathologists. After all, medical laboratory testing is fundamental to how physicians diagnose disease, select the most appropriate therapies, and monitor the progress of their patients.
This is an excerpt of a 3,163-word article in the Dec. 16, 2019 issue of THE DARK REPORT (TDR). The full article is available to members of The Dark Intelligence Group.
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IT’S CALLED THE OPIOD CRISIS AND IT’S OFTEN A MAJOR STORY in the nightly news. In 2017, deaths from drug overdoses totaled 70,237, of which 68% (47,600) were opioid overdose deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Across the nation, government health officials and healthcare providers struggle to address the problems of opioid
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