Clinical labs are specialized healthcare facilities that provide various laboratory tests and treatments to assist medical practitioners in diagnosing, treating, and managing their patients. These labs are staffed by clinical laboratory scientists or medical technologists who have received the appropriate education to carry out a variety of diagnostic procedures using samples of biological material obtained from patients.
Most clinical labs are either inside hospital facilities or close to such facilities, making them easily accessible to patients and clinicians who treat them. As a result, these institutions can offer high-quality laboratory tests, which are essential for meeting the requirements of research and clinical care.
The Role of the Clinical Laboratory in Healthcare
In today’s intricate healthcare system, the contribution that clinical laboratory experts and their services make toward optimizing the efficacy of care delivery is significant. Appropriately utilizing clinical laboratory services improves clinicians’ ability to drive therapeutic and diagnostic decisions for their patients. Such findings are supported by evidence while allowing for the most efficient use of available resources and the lowest possible overall costs associated with providing healthcare.
Clinical laboratory services provide the most objective health information at the lowest possible cost and with the least amount of patient intrusion regarding disease detection and cure, improving patient outcomes, ensuring patient safety, and accomplishing vital public health surveillance functions. Therefore, clinical laboratory specialists and their services must provide safe, efficient, patient-centered, timely, and equitable treatment.
According to the test specialization system, facilities can give examinations on any one of the following areas of particular interest:
Blood banking and Serology or Immunohematology, Transfusion Medicine
Histopathology and Cytopathology
The Public Health branch of the health sector conducts various tests, including analyses of water and compounds found in the surrounding environment.
The Structure of the clinical Laboratory
The collecting area, the examination area, and the report area make up the three primary components that make up a laboratory.
Collection Area: Patients will have their samples taken here once processed. It is possible to get samples from the bloodstream, urine, tissue, or other biological fluids or tissues.
Testing Area: The material goes through a variety of tests that are performed in the lab. These tests can evaluate various parameters, including blood glucose, high cholesterol, total proteins, and more.
Reporting Area: Once the test findings have been compiled, they are sent to the attending physician who requested them.
The Processes of the Clinical Laboratory
In a medical facility, the processing of samples will typically begin when a collection of samples is received along with a request for a test. This request may be submitted electronically or online via the laboratory information management system. Inpatient samples will already have patient, and test information tagged on them, thanks to the laboratory information system (LIS).
When submitting test requests into the LIS system, you will need to type in the laboratory number (or scan it in the case that barcodes are used), enter the patient identifier, and then enter any tests that have been ordered.
It enables laboratory analyzers, computers, and personnel to know what tests are pending. It also offers a place for results reporting, such as a hospital department, doctor, or another customer.
The Equipment Used by Laboratories
A laboratory is made up of many different pieces of apparatus that are used in a variety of experiments. Instruments such as microscopes, pipettes, centrifuges, incubators, and freezers are included in this category.
Every single piece of apparatus may be used for a variety of purposes. For example, a microscope lets workers see cells at a magnified scale. Pipettes are instruments that move very tiny volumes of liquid from one container to another.
Centrifuges separate liquids depending on density. Incubators maintain a constant temperature for samples while the user waits for results. Refrigerators play an essential role in ensuring the consistency of models.
The Personnel Required by Laboratories
As a patient, you may never meet any of the many highly trained and educated laboratory specialists. However, these people are crucial to your health care. The clinical laboratory is for illness detection, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring. The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments regulate U.S. clinical labs.
A clinical laboratory has a wide range of occupations to choose from in line with that regulation. These roles are determined by a career ladder consisting of academic and technical milestones. The director of the clinical laboratory, as well as technical and general supervisors, as well as scientists, technologists, and technicians, make up the core members of the clinical laboratory team.
In addition, there are individuals responsible for managing the labs’ activities. Even though these professionals might not be the ones conducting tests on your samples, the vast majority have received training and have expertise in the technical aspects of the laboratory. As a result, they play an essential role in ensuring that the laboratory functions effectively.