There is little doubt that the world of laboratory medicine, just as the larger world of healthcare, is rapidly changing. As so, laboratory and diagnostic medicine have seen increased attention on the national stage spurred by both an explosion of health care technology and a demand to move towards a more personalized and value-based model of patient care.
Concerns over quality have been brought to light by an investigative report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that explores the impact of errors in waived testing performed by untrained personnel in largely unregulated laboratories. Additionally, while not confined to only the lab, a recent report by the National Academies of Science (formerly Institute of Medicine) asserts that everyone will experience at least one diagnostic error in his/her lifetime. Meanwhile, the potential for increased regulatory oversight has generated national debates in healthcare media.
It is clear; we are on the verge of a transformation in the laboratory industry. While the Congressional Leadership and Wall Street debate on the varying pieces of the puzzle, we as a community need to come together to harness this opportunity for improvement by focusing the discussion on quality and on patient care. Every sample that is run through a laboratory is a patient, a mother, brother, sister, or friend, who deserves the highest level of care possible. We need to ensure that everyone knows that lab testing matters to them because the laboratory saves lives every day!