This is the 45th year that National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week has been celebrated during the last full week of April. At MANA, we appreciate the risks lab professionals take — and the way they reduce risks for their fellow healthcare professionals and the community at large.
Across the United States, more than 300,000 medical lab professionals provide as much as 70% of the data doctors use to make diagnoses and treatment plans for patients.
When you have blood work or other tests done, a medical laboratory professional is working with your health care team to provide the information your doctor needs to make informed decisions about your treatment.
Behind the scenes
Often, the medical lab professionals work behind the scenes, analyzing data to check your health or to look for signs of disease.
This year, with the pandemic, we have seen more medical lab professionals in the news than usual. With testing and development of vaccines for COVID-19, we’re seeing the heroism of medical lab professionals more clearly.
During the pandemic, our Lab Director Tara Lindstrom, MT, (ASCP), served on MANA’s COVID Task Force. She researched testing options and supplies for MANA clinics and provided extensive reports to our medical team throughout 2020. Due to her hard work and local partnership with NWA Pathology, MANA has been able to provide timely COVID test results to patients throughout the pandemic.
MANA’s laboratory technologists and phlebotomists performed thousands of COVID-19 tests in the past year, often collecting the samples curbside from the patient in their vehicle. They learned new testing methods for COVID-19 including sourcing PCR tests to multiple labs, rapid antigen testing, and rapid antigen/flu testing.
MANA has lab technologists onsite at most of our clinic locations to provide onsite collection and care. Our main laboratory is located at Fayetteville Diagnostic Clinic and is accredited by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) as a highly complex laboratory in the areas of chemistry, hematology, diagnostic immunology, urinalysis, and coagulation.
More than a century of medical lab work
In the late 1800s, medical professionals used thermometers, and by the end of the century lab tests could be used to identify tuberculosis, typhoid, diphtheria, and malaria. Medical scientists came up with tools to measure blood pressure, listen to the heart, and examine bacteria.
At the turn of the century, diagnosis became a much more certain affair than it had been previously. In the 1920s, laboratories were available at most major hospitals. Medical lab professionals came into their own.
Fayetteville Diagnostic Clinic offered one of the first laboratories within a medical clinic in 1955.
Medical laboratory professionals
In 1933, the American Society of Clinical Laboratory Technicians (which would become the American Society for Medical Technology and then the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science) was organized, and in 1936 it was incorporated. In 1947, the organization held its first convention; previously, the meetings had been part of medical conventions led by physicians.
Throughout the 20th century, ASCLS became more involved and influential in education and certification efforts. From the turn of the century to the present, the organization has also become an important player in legislation.
MANA appreciates our laboratory professionals and their hard work and dedication to quality patient care during the pandemic and every day!