As chronic disease and aging populations strain the UK’s medical systems, staffing shortages at pathology laboratories contribute to lengthening delays of critical diagnostic services
In the United Kingdom (UK), pathologists and other physicians are going public with their concerns that a growing shortage of pathologists and medical laboratory scientists will soon contribute to delays in performing the lab tests needed to diagnose patients—particularly those with cancer—and identify which therapies will work best for them.
Thanks to vast improvements to both medical laboratory capabilities and treatment options, the cancer survival rate in the UK doubled over the past four decades. However, early diagnosis is a critical component to a successful outcome. As further strain is placed on medical laboratories and diagnostic providers, wait times continue to increase beyond the thresholds created by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
Worsening an already dire situation, a November 2016 report from Cancer Research UK, “Testing Times to Come? An Evaluation of Pathology Capacity Across the UK,” predicts a critical shortage in laboratory staffing within the next decade. Data on Provider-based Cancer Waiting Times for August 2016 from National Health Service England shows that 17.2% of patients with an urgent referral for suspected cancer fail to start treatment within two months of the referral. (more…)
Latest calls for easier public access to information on physician performance and quality is a reminder to clinical laboratories and pathology groups of the trend to greater transparency on provider outcomes
If any clinical laboratory executive or pathologist still doubts that more transparency of provider outcomes is a topic of interest to patients, they have only to look at Consumer Reports, well-respected for its advocacy on behalf of consumers. Consumer Reports is using multiple ways to educate their readers about medical errors and how the medical community makes it difficult for consumers to learn about physicians who have been involved in state medical board investigations.
One example is the Consumers Union, which is the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. Through its Safe Patient Project, the Consumers Union seeks to eliminate medical harm in healthcare.
Consumers Union advocates for increased public disclosure of information about such issues as: (more…)
Developers seeking FDA Approval for microchip-based nanotechnology type-1 diabetes test, which has been performed on people with accurate results
New nanotechnology has made it possible for a team at Stanford University School of Medicine to develop a medical laboratory test for type-1 diabetes that can be performed in a physician’s office and does not require a specimen collected by venipuncture.
This microchip requires just minutes to diagnose type-1 diabetes in near-patient settings, according to a Stanford University news release. (more…)
Elements of Obamacare specifically support employer programs designed to improve the health of employees
Who would have believed that, after passage of the Affordable Care Act back in 2010, a fast-growing trend would be that of employers spending more money to develop employee wellness programs and offer medical clinics within corporate facilities? At a minimum, this development creates new opportunities for clinical laboratories to be direct providers of medical laboratory testing services to corporations.
Employee Wellness Programs Incorporate Medical Laboratory Testing
There is a simple reason why employers are jumping on the employee wellness bandwagon. Evidence demonstrates that incentivizing employees to live a healthier lifestyle can help reduce the cost of providing health insurance. It can also contribute to less absenteeism and increased employee productivity, both of which are important benefits to employers.
New data affirming this trend can be found in the 2013 Health Care Survey conducted annually by AON. AON is a global re-insurer that provides risk management services, insurance, and human resources solutions. About half of all U.S. employers now offer employee wellness programs, according to a recent study by Rand Corp., an independent think tank based in Santa Monica, California.
Recent advances in breath analyzer technologies may give pathologists new diagnostic tools
Does breath analysis have a promising future in pathology and clinical laboratory testing? That day may not be far off. Scientists in multiple research laboratories are developing cost-effective, non-invasive diagnostic test technologies based on breath specimens from patients.
Researchers say that breath analysis can provide critical information in real time and deliver numerous advantages over fluid and image-based testing. In fact, glucose testing via breath specimen may be just around the corner!
On May 31, 2011, Xhale, Inc. was issued a patent for its system and method for non-invasive monitoring of glucose concentrations in blood to provide critical information in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes. The Xhale system consists of a small handheld device that analyzes exhaled breath condensate. (more…)