Today's testing is increasingly complicated, and no single lab professional can be an expert at everything. To determine when and where testing is appropriate–and what the results mean–you must have the right expert for the job.
Take genetic testing. Each person has some
25,000 genes, comprising over
3 billion base pairs and about
4 million variants—roughly
8,000 of which are unique to the patient.
Testing costs thousands of dollars, and
interpretations evolve continually.
Only someone with extensive experience can reliably select appropriate testing and meaningfully interpret genetic results.
The complexity of tests at hand must be matched by the expertise of professionals on hand.
Lab Leaders Need to See the Clinical Value Picture
Testing isn't always a perfect science. There are many things that can make a perfectly fine lab result irrelevant to the patient:
Patient medications interfering with test
Patient's psychological state
Limitations of the assay
Sample taken at the wrong time
To ensure that results have clinical relevance, you need experts who understand three things:
The clinical utility of the test
Analytical elements and testing limitations
How to synthesize test results and clinical information into a patient-specific interpretive report.
Often, this requires specialized knowledge—and finding the right specialist can make the difference.
EXPERT ADVICE NEEDS TO BE DELIVERED TO THE BEDSIDE
Unfortunately, there can be mistranslations between the lab and the exam room, resulting in common, costly, and sometimes deadly, results.
Most people will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime.¹
Diagnostic errors are more common than medication or surgical errors. They are responsible for between 80,000 and 160,000 preventable injuries and deaths each year, and cost an estimated $38.8 billion between 1986 and 2010.²
More than provide only test results, lab leaders need people to routinely connect with primary care physicians and provide active guidance around test selection, interpretation, and application of results—being engaged at the right moment is essential to make a difference in outcome.
Test selection is a team sport
Of course, no single expert is as knowledgeable as a collection of professionals—it's not always which expert is in the room, but which experts.
Lab Director (to finalize the narrative report)
Resident, fellow, or clinical lab scientist (to prepare the initial narrative interpretation)
To get multi-disciplinary, all interested healthcare providers can attend to offer information that enhances the narrative interpretation
Such a mixture of professionals can cover all angles of test selection and implementation, including the clinical efficacy of tests, testing limitations, the context of the patient, costs, and standardized procedures.
All of this–bringing in the right people at the right time–ensures that the right test is administered to the right patient, at the right cost.
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