Year : 2022 | Volume
: 19 | Issue : 4 | Page : 197--198
Laboratory medicine: Towards technology-driven patient-centric care
Department of Haematology and Clinical Pathology, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Dr Mamta Soni
Apollo Hospitals, 21 Greams Lane, Off Greams Road, Chennai - 600 031, Tamil Nadu
|How to cite this article:|
Soni M. Laboratory medicine: Towards technology-driven patient-centric care.Apollo Med 2022;19:197-198
|How to cite this URL:|
Soni M. Laboratory medicine: Towards technology-driven patient-centric care. Apollo Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 5 ];19:197-198
Available from: https://apollomedicine.org/text.asp?2022/19/4/197/362627
Laboratory medicine is the backbone of an effective and efficient healthcare delivery system. It not only aids in making an evidence-based diagnosis but also facilitates the therapeutic and dosing decisions, therapeutic monitoring, monitoring of the course and emerging complications, and prognostication of the disease. Regular preventive health checks save a life by the early detection of the disease. This early detection cannot happen without the robust support of the laboratory. The recent pandemic also reiterated and reinforced the ancillary role of clinical laboratories in areas such as epidemiologic surveillance, which was essential to monitor and mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
Driven by technological advancements, laboratory medicine is rapidly transforming to significantly impact healthcare delivery. The pre-, post-, and analytical changes are not only improving patient care in multiple ways but also strengthening good laboratory practices. Total laboratory automation on robotic tracks interlinking the various laboratory processes with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) is already in practice in many advanced laboratory sites.
Digitalization of images from haematology, histopathology, cytology, FISH, and even microbiology culture plates tremendously contributes to the optimal utilization of resources and expertise, thereby improving patient care.
Innovations such as biosensors, microfluidics, smartphone-based diagnostic systems, lateral flow and immunochromatography assays, facilitated-access self-testing point-of-care (FAST•POC™), microtechnology, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry have revolutionized automation not only in laboratories but also diagnostics at near-patient sites in the form of point of care testing.
There is an immense amount of patient data generation which needs to be put to good use. Machine learning, a function of AI, can help us to scrutinize and analyze this data, informatics, statistics, and many other types of information. Protecting the confidentiality of patient information is another essential aspect. Laboratory facilities are looking for blockchain experts for the same.
With all the changes, it still remains essential to remember that the role of a clinical laboratory in strengthening health care is directly proportional to its quality management systems which can be objectively measured by an accurate and timely test result. It is imperative that the clinical laboratories, in pace with the rapid advancements, continue to evolve quality management programs that help to detect, analyze, correct, and prevent the nonconformances or deficiencies which can occur in their work processes. Many times, a laboratory implements a quality management system aiming for accreditation or certification. However, in my opinion, the primary aim should be the implementation of a robust quality management system that is patient-centric. Any accreditation or certification should be a byproduct of this and not vice versa.
With patients becoming central to healthcare strategies, laboratory medicine will require more patient-centric approach. Along with the quality of care and patient safety, patient satisfaction and empowerment require increased attention. The changing landscape is evident in the rapid expansion of POCT, real-time diagnostics, and affordable direct-to-consumer testing.
The current special edition of the journal of laboratory medicine covers the wide areas of laboratory medicine. The contribution of laboratories in the recent pandemic has been immense, and the edition covers the aspects of prognostication of COVID-19, superimposed infections such as the notorious mucormycosis, a study on safety and efficacy of vaccination along with the study of psychosocial behavioral patterns in preschoolers, and adolescent age groups during the lockdown. Each of them will interest the readers as our knowledge of various aspects of the pandemic is still evolving. The edition also has articles on drug monitoring, lifestyle disorders, and some recent advances and innovations in blood collection. The article on metaverse explores the role of a metaverse in training, education, and augmenting telehealth consultations in an immersive milieu. Case reports are interesting, covering an important not so uncommon spurious phenomenon happening in a biochemistry laboratory, a faster and cost-effective diagnosis of amyloidosis, and some rare entities like mesenteric inflammatory veno-occlusive disease of the colon and Factor XI deficiency.
Laboratory medicine is an ever-evolving, dynamic field with a wide scope. This issue is able to cover many aspects of the scope, and it will appeal to readers' interest and contribute to their existing knowledge in patient care.