Have you ever wondered who conducts the detailed medical laboratory testing for your glucose levels, cholesterol levels, or RT-PCR and analyzes the results? Well, if you thought that it was your physician or a nurse in the hospital, you are going to find out that you are wrong.
The COVID-19 pandemic has got the world au courant with medical lab technology (MLT). The time has finally arrived for the public along with those in healthcare to truly understand the value of the medical laboratory technicians (MLTs).
The professionals have always been here, saving numerous lives, but getting shadowed in the background.
Since Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) first emerged in December 2019, the disease evolved into a pandemic overnight.
As soon as the causative pathogen, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified, a laboratory diagnosis was established and has played an essential role in confirming a clinical diagnosis of COVID -19.
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Challenges Faced By Laboratories
Laboratory biochemical tests, including monitoring changes in blood cells, coagulation, liver function, cardiac markers, and inflammatory responses, are also critical in combating COVID-19.
With the increase in the number of patients and the number of asymptomatic cases, clinical laboratories are facing enormous challenges in:
- adopting diagnostic approaches that can rapidly and accurately identify infected persons and,
- adopting strategies that can detect disease progression allowing stratification of suffering patients for appropriate care.
These are urgently needed and highlight the requirement of laboratory technicians in combating COVID-19.
While the world screams for “more tests” during the SARSCoV2 pandemic, most of us would agree that our largest hurdle to help our patients is the lack of medical lab technicians who conduct these numerous tests.
Moreover, people do not stop having heart disease, diabetes, influenza infections, pregnancies, just because of a single virus spreading the world over.
So, even these tests need to be carried out alongside on a regular basis.
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Role of an MLT
With the appearance of such an unprecedented situation, the worth of MLT has risen. The world’s focus is now on medical laboratory technicians.
- These MLT professionals are juggling dozens and dozens of tests, and play the role of a quality inspector. If the specimen is not collected correctly by a nurse, phlebotomist, doctor, or another professional, the laboratory test will not be valid.
- The spread of COVID-19 is due to a lack of testing and patient awareness. The positive or negative result impacts patient responses in our communities and the isolation protocols. These can minimize the spread of the disease. Testing hence has an impact far beyond a positive or negative confirmation of COVID-19 for many individuals.
- Medical laboratory technicians spend countless hours collecting, conducting, correlating, and validating tests. There are very strict rules and policies that must be followed in the lab to ensure the right result is reported for the right patient. Many laboratories invest in accreditation programs and continued proficiency testing to ensure the staff performs tests in accordance with laboratory procedures and guidelines. Due to the critical nature of what they do, labs are highly regulated and require medical technologists and technicians to obtain education qualifications, certifications, and continued training for error-free performance.
- The technicians even make sure that the laboratory equipment function properly and perform the tests accurately.
- The workload for many labs has dramatically increased due to COVID-19 testing. The increase in demand has burdened the labs to add instrumentation and reporting mechanisms and implement additional procedures and staff training. Both manufacturers and laboratories are working to meet the clinical demands imposed by this pandemic.
- A patient never meets the medical laboratory professionals who spend hours determining their test results. The lab and technicians have always been there, behind the scenes, supporting patient care teams.
- A study concluded that 94% of the objective medical data in the patient record comes from laboratory technicians.
- MLTs are contributing up to 70% of patients’ laboratory testing to physicians. As a result the doctors can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
This current global pandemic highlights the key role that laboratorians play in the entire healthcare space and how critical it is in patient care. Also it emphasizes the shortage of medical laboratory technicians and the respect they deserve.
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Why MLT Is The Best Career Option?
This current global pandemic has highlighted the key role that laboratorians play in the entire healthcare space and how critical the role is in inpatient care. Also, it has brought to light the shortage of medical laboratory technicians.
So, this is the best time for medical technologists to get trained, serve the public, and increase their worth and get rewarded.
The need for a reliable diagnosis of their condition and what actually a patient is suffering from has increased the demand for MLT.
All the diagnostic tests are required for differential diagnosis of fever, cough and breathlessness people are suffering from. This calls for more and more trained professionals for performing the task.
People are wary of scrupulous labs and now prefer ethical technicians.
The emphasis is on accurate reports of necessary investigations carried out by properly trained technicians.
This is thus a scenario of the growing need for technicians, who are trained and certified.
This pandemic has only made this need more acute.
Thus, this is a golden opportunity for MLT to do a thankful job with monetary benefits.