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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Editorial Board Member: Gillery, Philippe / Kazmierczak, Steven / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Schlattmann, Peter / Whitfield, John B.

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Clinical pathology services: remapping our strategic itinerary

Norbert Blanckaert1

1Department of Laboratory Medicine, University Hospitals, Catholic University of Leuven, Lueven, Belgium

Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. Norbert Blanckaert, Department of Laboratory Medicine, UZLeuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium Phone: +32 16 347020, Fax: +32 16 347042,

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 48, Issue 7, Pages 919–925, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2010.194, May 2010

Publication History

Published Online:
2010-05-23

Abstract

Both technological advances and economic drivers have led to major changes in clinical laboratories across the world, with vastly improved testing productivity. However, the production process capability advances have far outpaced the clinical pathologists' success in assuring optimal test utilization and interpretation. While productivity of ‘commodity’ testing increases, our healthcare value productivity decreases. Such developments constitute a serious threat to our clinical pathology specialty, not only because pathologists may lose direct control of the commodity testing production activities, but also because the present evolution exposes a failure of our core clinical activities, the pathologist's knowledge processes that translate ‘commodity’ results into medical outcomes optimization. At a time when a revolution in health care organization is inescapable in the years ahead, clinical pathology must proceed from a merely reactive strategy (to fulfill the ‘more with less’ demands) to a proactive strategy where we build excellence and visibility in knowledge services on a strong foothold of operational excellence. Based on a Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats analysis, we argue that clinical pathology should safeguard and expand its healthcare value productivity by assuming leadership in building integrated laboratory services networks. We also suggest that the core knowledge processes deserve a system approach, for example, by applying a risk-based quality management system.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2010;48:919–25.

Keywords: clinical pathology; delivery of health care; efficiency, organizational; health care economics and organizations; healthcare reform; integrated health care systems; organizational models; quality assurance, health care

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