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Pathologist and Technical Staff Communication

Here is a general statement from Col. Lucia More that was posted on Pat Letendre’s Medlab-L. Surprisingly, it generated little discussion there. I asked her if we could put it up on Fritsma Factor to see if we could elicit a response. I’d particulary like to learn people’s response to the ASCLS Doctorate in Clinical Laboratory Science initiative.

One thing I have realized, and am working to try to change (probably not in my lifetime either), is that we are the experts in sample requirements for lab tests.  When we perform tests on inappropriate samples we are at the least wasting money and at worst providing inaccurate test results that may lead to a less than optimal outcome.  Our pathologists need to support us when we tell them the testing is not appropriate; often they know less than we do about the clinical lab but they give “professional courtesy” to the medical staff or just ignore the policies we establish that are based on good laboratory practice.  A lot of this has been our own fault for not “getting out of the basement” and functioning more as part of the clinical team.  I am encouraged by the ASCLS’s efforts to establish a doctorate in Clinical lab Science to fill the liaison role between the lab and the medical staff and encourage all laboratorians to reach out to the medical staff personally and establish a relationship.

Thank you, Col More. Though I understand this position, I’ve been lucky working at University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, where the clinical pathologists and path residents remain in regular communication with the technical laboratory staff, so issues of this sort seldom arise. This may be partly due to UAB’s “matrix management” system in which the lab scientists report to technical management staff and pathologists are advisory to the team. Let’s learn what others have experienced. Geo

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