The services provided in a medical laboratory are some of the less invasive and cost effective ways of obtaining information which will directly enable physicians and healthcare professionals to make evidence based decisions. It provides the medical personal with clues which are vital in the diagnosis and treatment of injury or diseases and the maintenance of a healthier lifestyle post diagnosis. The tests can be classified as either;
- Diagnostic: Targeted at symptomatic individuals to determine a definite diagnosis. It is designed to establish either the presence or absence of a disease. This type of testing might be moderately invasive, depending on the disease/ condition the patient is tested for.
- Screening: Targeted at asymptomatic individuals who are potentially at risk or have family history of the disease/ condition. The main purpose of the test is to detect potential indicators or suspicion of disease and is often used in conjunction with other tests to yield more accurate results.
Such tests are part of a testing model used to guide the diagnostic process which is essential in disease management. The outcome of these services impact various aspects of a patient care such as; the safety of the patient, the length of stay in a medical facility, utilization of medical resources and of course patient satisfaction. The improvement of technology increases the productivity of medical laboratories globally. With new diseases and disease strains, there is a greater need for rapid diagnosis.
Laboratory technicians are the individuals who are tasked with determining cholesterol and blood sugar levels, blood alcohol levels, iron deficiency, excess protein present in urine, identification of streptococcus throat bacteria and the preparation and processing of blood for transfusion. Such professionals can work in laboratories set up in hospitals, clinics, research facilities, colleges and public health facilities. The role of a clinical technician is to record and interpret the vital data before passing it on to the physicians, also advising them on the most effective tests for the given conditions. In most circumstances, routine testing is required in the months following the initial diagnosis, the results of which will assist medical personal in adjusting treatment and aftercare.
Although Doctors are responsible for the many lives saved on a daily basis, they work closely with medical laboratories and technicians to generate data and identify abnormalities. The partnership shared between the two improves the quality of patient care and control the overall cost associated with testing and treatment where possible. Without accurate laboratory generated information, the decisions taken by physicians could be compromised or ineffective. Basic laboratory tests include and are not limited to;
- Urinalysis: Often the first test carried out which is a general screening test used to check for the early onset of disease as well as evaluate diabetes and kidney disease.
- Complete blood count: Also known as CBC, this is the most common blood test performed at medical laboratories. It is used to determine the general health of patients and assess their nutritional status. It measures the number of cells present in the blood, including red and white blood cells and platelets. The CBC test assists in evaluating symptoms of fatigue and weakness and diagnoses conditions such as malaria, anemia and leukemia.
- Prothrombin time: Pro Time or PT is a test that measures the time taken for blood to coagulate and measures the presence and activity of blood clotting factors. This test screens for bleeding abnormalities and can prevent the formation of blood clots by monitoring medicinal treatments.
- Comprehensive metabolic panel: Provides a comprehensive assessment of metabolic functions with a specific focus on organ function.
- Basic metabolic panel: This test may require a fasting period of 12 hours prior to the test been conducted and helps physicians monitor any effects of medication taken by the patient and can potentially diagnose any underlying conditions. The test measures sodium, potassium, glucose, chloride, calcium, electrolyte, kidney function and more.
- Lipid and Liver panel: The lipid panel test is a group of tests which is used to determine and evaluate cardiac risk amongst patients. The tests involve the monitoring of triglyceride and cholesterol levels. The liver panel test is also a combination of several tests which is used to determine liver function and identify the presence of liver tumours.
- Cultures: Plated cultures are commonly used for diagnosis and treatment of infections. Antibiotic resistance and susceptibility can be determined for illnesses such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections.
Medical laboratories and their dedicated technicians work relentlessly in order to ensure the proper and timely diagnosis of people. The existence of such laboratories is vital during times of epidemics and pandemics. Unique Health provides reliable laboratory services and can be trusted to deliver accurate test results for your loved ones.