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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.

Laboratory medicine is generally divided into two sections, each of which being subdivided into multiple units. These two sections are anatomic pathology and clinical pathology.

Distribution of clinical laboratories in health institutions varies greatly from one place to another.

The staff of medical laboratories may include:

  • Pathologist
  • Clinical biochemist
  • Pathologist’s assistant (PA)
  • Medical laboratory scientist (MT, MLS or CLS)
  • Medical laboratory technician (MLT)
  • Medical laboratory assistant (MLA)
  • Phlebotomist (PBT)

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.

WakeMed Uses Drone to Deliver Patient Specimens

CEO SUMMARY: For two years, clinical lab professionals at WakeMed Health and Hospitals have tested the use of aerial drones to transport patient specimens from a physicians’ office satellite lab/draw station to the WakeMed Medical Center’s central lab. Late last month, they completed the first successful revenue-generating commercial transport of lab supplies by drone in

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What Have We Done for You Lately?

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

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In Tough Times, All Labs Need Success Strategies

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.

Second, most

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December 3, 2018 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Intelligence Late & Latent News

Another long-established regional laboratory company is about to be acquired. On November 27, Boyce and Bynum Pathology Laboratories of Columbia, Mo., disclosed that it had entered an agreement to be acquired by Quest Diagnostics Inc. Notably, the press release about the agreement states that the anatomic pathology division, Boyce and Bynum Professional Services, Inc., and the

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October 22, 2018 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Intelligence Late & Latent News

Efforts to enroll one million veterans in a program to determine how genetic variations affect health is moving swiftly. Current enrollment is 700,000 veterans and the one million goal is expected to be reached by 2021. In 2011, the federal Department of Veterans Affairs instituted the VA Million Veterans Program (MVP).

MORE ON: Million Vets

Recently the VA extended

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Theranos News Gets Worse for the Former Silicon Valley Hero

CEO SUMMARY: In a tale of two fraudsters, the Department of Justice has filed a warning shot to all technology startups: Criminal indictments against Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani could mean prison time and massive fines. In this latest Theranos news, The DOJ cited harm to investors, doctors and patients by the two company

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