Did you know that your health and healthcare options are highly dependent on whether you have access to excellent medical laboratory services?
Well, you probably did not know that right?
Stay with me, let us go on this exploratory journey together.
The Medical laboratory is very important and helps in the diagnosis (detection) and treatment of disease in patients.
From Laboratory tests, you can determine the presence, extent or absence of disease and monitor the effectiveness of ongoing treatment. Approximately sixty to seventy percent (60-70%) of all decisions regarding a patient’s hospital admission, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and discharge are better comprehended due to the availability of laboratory test results.
In case that sounded a bit academic, let us break it down. Have you ever been tested in a medical laboratory?
Perhaps, you had to put some urine in a small container? Or a little sample of your blood was taken?
At the end of the day, collecting those body specimens were not for play. From every human specimen analyzed in the laboratory, information is obtained.
When that information is accurate and correctly interpreted, it’ll help the doctor (physician) who requested for the information to know how best to treat the person whose information was gotten.
Even better, the owner of the information is able to know how to live a more healthy life as well as make better health choices from the results or information provided by the laboratory.
For example, when the laboratory tests for glucose ( a type of sugar) in the blood, it can help the person taking the test to know whether he or she is at risk for Diabetes or even already Diabetic.
Good news about that is; Diabetes is a manageable condition. Many people who have Diabetes live up to eighty (80) even ninety (90) years provided they manage and properly control the condition.
That management and control is only possible due to the existence of good medical laboratories that help patients monitor blood sugar levels.
So you see why the medical laboratory is very important to health and healthcare?
Thus, when choosing a medical laboratory service, you must watch out for *specific things* to ensure you are getting the best service available.
Some of these are: accreditation status of the laboratory. In Nigeria for instance, you want to check if the laboratory is accredited by the MLSCN. Some international certifications like the ISO 15189 also help you recognise a laboratory that is driven by quality.
You should also check the personnel. Medical Laboratory Scientists are the professionals properly trained and legally qualified to run tests in a medical laboratory. It is always important to check that your tests are done by a licensed Medical laboratory Scientist and not by quacks. Ensure that your results are correctly signed and attributed to a Medical Laboratory Scientist.
More on what you need to check when choosing a suitable medical laboratory service will be shared in a subsequent editorial.
In the next editorial, we will be looking at some of the challenges that prevent accurate and positively useful diagnosis from even the best laboratories.
Feel free to ask questions on today’s editorial as well as share any tips you have for others on how to access the best medical laboratory services possible.
©Onaoluwa Abimbola, 2018.
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