Blog Post

Celebrating the Lifesaving Hidden Value of Lab Professionals

April 22, 2020

Blog Post

Celebrating the Lifesaving Hidden Value of Lab Professionals

April 22, 2020
Karen Watts, BS, MT (ASCP), Director of Laboratory Services
Your doctor would like to run some tests – you've had your blood drawn and your sample has been sent off to the lab.

Your doctor would like to run some tests – you've had your blood drawn and your sample has been sent off to the lab. You met the phlebotomist who drew your blood sample, but have you ever wondered who actually receives your sample and conducts the tests?

Though you may never see them face-to-face, a variety of skilled and educated laboratory professionals work behind the scenes, playing a crucial role in your healthcare. An estimated 70% of all decisions regarding a patient’s diagnosis and treatment, hospital admission and discharge are based on laboratory test results. In fact, Freeman laboratory professionals report over 3.5 million tests each year! That’s why Freeman Health System is recognizing our amazing lab professionals April 21 – 27 during Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (MLPW).

Freeman employees working in the clinical laboratory collect specimens and conduct tests that provide crucial information for detecting, analyzing, diagnosing, evaluating and monitoring disease. They’re the health detectives behind the magnifying glass – or more likely, a microscope – who generate vitally important data for identifying and treating life-threating diseases such as cancer, heart disease and HIV, as well as common ailments such as the sniffles or strep throat. They use state-of-the-art technology to provide comprehensive diagnostic services, analyzing not just patient’s blood samples but also urine, body fluids, tissue and stool. If bacteria, fungus or parasites are lurking, Freeman’s highly skilled lab “investigators” will track down the culprits and provide the proof to help physicians determine the best treatment for their patients. The lab is also responsible for supplying life-saving blood products for transfusion.

Because lab results impact the healthcare patients receive, Freeman’s laboratory professionals are specially educated, trained and certified. In addition, Freeman lab directors and coordinators have extensive training and many years of experience, enabling them to oversee testing and ensure strict quality control and quality management systems are followed. Like all clinical laboratories in the United States, Freeman labs are regulated by the federal government under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). The regulations for the CLIA amendments have quality standards for laboratory testing to ensure results are accurate, reliable and timely and include standards for the education and training of laboratory personnel.

Solving the riddle of health begins with the gifted and dedicated laboratory professionals, clinicians and administrative staff at Freeman who service the residents of the Four States. Freeman’s team of compassionate lab professionals strive to provide excellence in care, enriching the lives of everyone.

About the Author

Karen Watts, BS, MT (ASCP), has worked at Freeman Health System for eight years and served as Director of Laboratory Services for five years. She oversees the Freeman Lab Services Department, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offers clinical and pathology services. The lab provides testing for all areas of the hospital including the emergency room, operating room, cardiovascular operating room, all patient rooms and outpatient testing. To learn more, visit freemanhealth.com/services/laboratory-services or call 417.347.3575.