When your healthcare provider orders a lab test such as a CBC (complete blood count), throat culture, or biopsy, the testing is performed by medical laboratory professionals. Pathologists, medical lab technicians and technologists, and phlebotomists are just a few of the medical lab workers who perform more than 1.2 million lab tests in Bayhealth facilities each year.
Some groups of tests provide a clinical picture of specific organs or organ systems, while other procedures show the presence or absence of disease, such as cancer, on a cellular level.
Using a patient’s blood sample or other body fluids and tissue, medical laboratory professionals look for micro-organisms that may cause infection. Tests for flu, strep, and other microbial agents are common.
Because the laboratory team often works behind the scenes, few people know that the critical testing they perform provides 70-80% of the information used to correctly detect, diagnose, and treat disease.
This work saves lives and helps control the cost of care.
“We see the microscopic detail, the pattern of incidents in a patient’s body that provides the building blocks for the big picture,” said Liz Johnson, Lead Processing Tech at Bayhealth Milford Memorial.
Many Bayhealth technologists have advanced degrees and are certified as specialists in hematology, chemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, and blood bank technology.
Bayhealth has recently introduced molecular diagnostics, a more definitive way to identify infectious disease in a short period of time among admitted patients. Molecular diagnostics improve patient care by alerting us to contagious and difficult-to-treat diseases such as MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and C. diff (Clostridium difficile). Additional molecular testing will be added in the future.
In recognition of Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, officially celebrated April 22-28, 2013, the Bayhealth Laboratory will enjoy a carnival-themed series of special meals, friendly competitions and learning events.