Clinical Laboratory Importance in Health Sector

Medical and clinical laboratories provide objective health information to assist physicians in diagnosing, treating, and monitoring patient outcomes – an integral element of providing high-quality healthcare services. These laboratories play a pivotal role in improving healthcare services as they help maximise efficiency of delivery.

Testing can be organised into three broad categories: Cytopathology entails the examination of cells from various parts of the body; molecular diagnostics involves DNA and RNA analysis; while surgical pathology investigates organs, limbs, tumors and fetuses.


Central laboratory services accuracy is one of the key elements to ensure test results are correct, particularly when interpreting them for patients. An inaccurate interpretation can lead to misdiagnosis and inaccurate treatment plans for patients – which could have serious repercussions, including long-term illnesses and even death. Unfortunately, many labs struggle with accuracy due to a lack of resources and training; additionally, many laboratories tend to prioritize quantity over quality in their culture.

Accuracy refers to the degree to which measurements resemble their true values, and can be measured using various methods, including Sigma-Alfa or ISO 5725-1 standards. Accuracy takes into account both random error and systematic error, with its ultimate measure being dependent upon sample size and test system used.

United States clinical laboratories are overseen by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS regulatory authorities conduct surveys and audits of clinical laboratories to ensure compliance with CLIA regulations, which include quality control standards, proficiency testing requirements, personnel qualifications requirements, penalties – including fines or suspension or revocation – for noncompliance; additionally using high quality instruments and adhering strictly to standard operational procedures can help minimise errors; nurses should be trained in reading test results accurately.


As physicians increasingly utilize laboratory tests for health assessment and monitoring patient outcomes, physicians increasingly depend on timely laboratory test results as part of clinical decision making processes.1 With personalised medicine gaining prominence rapidly, physicians increasingly turn to laboratory tests as an assessment tool and monitoring tool.1

As clinical laboratories become an integral part of hospitals and physician practices, ensuring rapid turnaround times for test results is becoming ever more essential to overall patient care. Point-of-care testing as well as accessible pathologist consultations play a vital role in this regard.

Laboratory professionals typically view time through the lens of turnaround time (TAT). TAT measures how quickly results from specimen submission reach clinician review. TAT has become one of the most recognizable metrics used by laboratories as a measure of their performance and it often serves as a benchmark against which to judge performance.

TAT (Turnaround Time for analysis of tests) is an integral performance metric in any laboratory; however, it doesn’t offer an accurate representation of its overall test processing timeline. A more reliable way of measuring laboratory performance would be viewing TAT as time from registration-to-ACC/ACC-to-verification; this metric provides more customer service feedback while helping laboratory staff more fully comprehend their own performance.

Utilizing an iterative design process, the laboratory team identified numerous opportunities for improvement. Process audit checklists were then established for those areas most impacted and reviewed regularly to track achievements. Furthermore, the team decided to utilize the HL7 data standard as an electronic form of communication while identifying hardware and software that can support interfacing.

Patient safety

Patient Safety is of vital significance in clinical laboratory practice. It encompasses patient protection in various settings such as hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, long-term care and home healthcare settings; as well as that of healthcare workers who may come in contact with infectious diseases while providing care. Patient safety requires an integrated quality improvement strategy which encompasses all facets of healthcare processes – this should include clear policies, leadership capabilities and data to drive safety improvements forward.

Clinical laboratories are healthcare facilities that offer various laboratory tests to clinicians for use in diagnosing and treating patients. Staffed by medical laboratory scientists or clinical laboratory technologists who analyze test results before relaying them back to physicians. Chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic and microscopic lab tests require keen analytical skills and independent judgment; also membership of organisations like American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) helps keep these technicians up-to-date.

Patient Safety differs from laboratory science degrees by emphasizing change-driven methods for health care worker behavior change. These come from various disciplines including human factors engineering, anthropometry, psychology and systems analysis/quality improvement – while some health professionals hold advanced degrees in patient safety it will still form part of their professional identity but may not make it the main focus.


Central Laboratory services can add significant value to healthcare by offering meaningful analytics that support collaborative caregiver groups and patient outcomes. This can be accomplished by offering actionable clinical laboratory insights in the form of data visualizations beyond what are usually available through laboratory information systems (LISs) and electronic medical records.

Laboratory professionals are uniquely suited to providing a longitudinal view of test results compared with appropriate reference intervals to assist in care delivery and improve decisions. Furthermore, this insight can also reduce unnecessary clinic visits, prescription costs and patient time spent at hospitals or outpatient clinics.

Facilitating clinician interpretation of laboratory tests is another key to increasing value, and this can be accomplished by setting clear definitions and criteria for critical values, communicating their importance to stakeholders, and detailing how a test is carried out (i.e. sensitivity/specificity ratios/receiver-operator characteristic curves).

Clinical laboratories must not only increase value, but also guarantee their results can be trusted. This involves making sure their procedures and practices conform to scientific principles as outlined in their quality control manual and complying with accreditation requirements to demonstrate accurate and reliable testing services – essential components in building patient confidence in laboratory testing services.


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