Medical laboratory testing plays a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Laboratory tests help determine the presence, extent, or absence of disease and monitor the effectiveness of treatment. More than 70 % of medical decisions* are now based on clinical lab results.
Clinical laboratory technicians perform most laboratory tests. While the, medical laboratory scientists analyze test results and relay them to physicians and sometimes provide test recommendations. They may also perform complex tests using turnkey sophisticated analyzers or specialize in newer diagnostic instrument technologies used to flexibly develop new test procedures and deploy laboratory developed tests (LDTs). Medical laboratory scientists require significant analytical and independent judgment to perform a wide variety of functions and ever changing and increasing test procedures such as:
Utilize sophisticated equipment and instruments to perform a number of tests simultaneously
Identification of bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms
Monitor patient progress and outcomes throughout therapeutic drug treatment
Microscopic examination and analysis of blood, body fluids (e.g., urine, peritoneal fluid, cerebrospinal fluid), tissues, and cells
Analysis of body fluids for chemical analytes such as glucose and cholesterol
Cross match blood for transfusion
Perform differential cell counts looking for abnormal cells to diagnose blood disorders
In addition to performing routine diagnostic tests, medical laboratory professionals are involved in the development of new and emerging technologies for clinical lab applications. In some cases, such efforts are focused on laboratory-developed procedures to be performed within the lab’s own facilities or helping refine future generations of instruments and related tests labs with diagnostics manufacturers.
The volume of laboratory tests continues to increase due to the development of new types of tests based on the adoption of next generation sequencing and mass spectrometry into the lab, and new disease targets identified through ongoing clinical research. With the advancement of new technology, both microbiology and oncology have been high-profile targets of new diagnostics and testing strategies in recent years, a trend that seems likely to continue in the coming year.
We’d like to thank all the medical laboratory professionals that support advancing our products to improve disease understanding and outcomes.