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Medical Laboratory Professionals Week

March 18, 2015

Medical Laboratory Professionals Week

Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is an annual celebration of the laboratory professionals and pathologists who play a vital role in every aspect of health care. Since they often work behind the scenes, few people know about the critical testing they perform every day. Lab Week is a time to honor the more than 300,000 medical laboratory professionals around the country who perform and interpret more than 10 billion laboratory tests in the US every year, over 5 million of these are performed right here at the University of Iowa. Every day researchers, educators, information technologists, support staff, doctors and laboratory professionals all work together to maintain and improve our high standards of patient care.

Did you know that laboratory test results comprise about 70 percent of a patient's medical record? Or that more than 10 billion laboratory tests are performed in the United States each year, 5 million of which are performed right here at UIHC? Lab professionals play a critical role in providing answers that guide the cures for an almost limitless range of diseases. Please join the Department of Pathology in celebrating and recognizing National Laboratory Professionals Week. Take a moment to thank the outstanding professionals that serve you through laboratory sciences such as UI DeGowin Blood Center, Anatomic Pathology, Microbiology and Molecular pathology, Core Laboratories, Iowa River Landing, Point of Service, UI Diagnostic Laboratories, pathology research, and pathology educational programs or Pathology Information Systems.

The theme of the seven-day celebration is "Laboratory Professionals Get Results" and calls attention to the vital health care contributions made by medical laboratory science professionals. And "Get Results" they do. Did you know?

  • Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. gets a blood transfusion; last year more than 30,000 blood components were transfused to patients at UI Hospitals and Clinics thanks to the DeGowin Blood Center.
  • Treatment of a variety of cancers is now guided by molecular pathology testing. This includes new cancer drugs that target cancers with specific genetic mutations. The results of molecular pathology testing may also provide patients with options for clinical trials of cancer therapies. The UI Molecular Pathology laboratory has state-of-the-art exome sequencing testing for cancers.
  • Medical diagnoses and treatment decisions depend on timely and accurate test results. Core Laboratories at UI Hospitals and Clinics boast an average turnaround time of 30 minutes from specimen receipt to result entry!
  • Demand for medical laboratory testing is increasing due to increases in world population; stronger emphasis on preventive medicine, including early detection and patient responsibility; and an explosion of new medical technologies such as genetic testing.
  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of clinical laboratory workers is expected to grow 22 percent between 2012 and 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Expanding medical knowledge and technological developments have increased the need for medical laboratory testing. For example, 30 years ago, few organ transplants were performed. Today, they are becoming routine surgeries in many hospitals. Transplant patients need significant testing before the procedure, must be monitored immediately following, and require some follow up for years after the transplant.
  • New and different pathogens are contributing to increased needs for laboratory testing. Pathology Research and Educational Programs keep UIHC at the forefront of the field. Infectious diseases such as Ebola, AIDS, Lyme disease, and hepatitis C—and the resurgence of old foes like tuberculosis—pose serious threats to the public health.
  • Unprecedented increases in international travel and immigration are resulting in importation of rare or previously unknown diseases, especially parasitic infections and inherited disorders, which increases the need for laboratory testing.
  • 12,200 new laboratory professionals will be needed annually to meet the growing need of the world's population, but only 4,000 to 6,000 graduates will join the workforce each year.