They are the ‘key’ to understand how to intervene when a person gets sick. And with the experience of Covid-19 it has become even more evident how the whole treatment process begins with laboratory tests. It is estimated, in fact, that 70% of the clinical choices made by doctors are determined precisely by laboratory medicine. The role of this discipline is discussed in 53rd National Congress of the Italian Society of Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine which opens today in virtual form and which sees the participation of over 1,000 members awaiting the World Congress which will be held in Rome in 2023 together with the European and national ones.
The role of diagnostics
The analysis laboratory where we all go to carry out checks on the doctor’s prescription plays a fundamental role both in making a diagnosis and in giving indications for the best possible care for all patients and citizens hospitalized or treated at home. “Our scientific society – he says Laura Sciacovelli, president Sibioc – is the expression of thousands of professionals, doctors, biologists, chemists, laboratory technicians who perform hundreds of thousands of laboratory tests daily assessing the health conditions of many citizens and capable of determining 70% of all clinical decisions. An enormous laboratory diagnostic work that has a very low cost, quantifiable in 2% of health expenditure on a national basis ”.
An investment, not a cost
Despite the value of laboratory medicine, still no representative of the scientific society is present on committees and other council bodies as is the case in many other countries. “These data indicate that we are an investment and not a cost. The pandemic has shown it: laboratory medicine represents a discipline characterized by great efficiency and daily value for citizens, patients both treated in hospital and at home – explains the designated president Tommaso Trenti. Unfortunately, no Laboratory Medicine professional is currently present in Commissions, Task Forces, Committees or Councils concerning the pandemic and the health of citizens in general. This absence has created a lot of confusion in the use of the various diagnostic options, whether molecular, serological or antigenic, with important repercussions on the diffusibility of the virus, early diagnosis “.
Integration of disciplines
In short, the clinical laboratory is increasingly the ‘core activity’ of the diagnostic-therapeutic process, an indispensable component in medical practice and not a simple ancillary service. “We are facing a process of organizational and cultural innovation never seen before”, he adds Sergio Bernardini, past president of Sibioc and next president of the World Congress of 2023. “A new laboratory model that sees the collapse of the barriers between the different areas of diagnostic medicine in which Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, Microbiology, Virology, Genetics as separate entities according to an old logic of silos, they are overcome to bring the patient’s needs to the center without distinction but promoting the integration between the different historical laboratory disciplines ”.
Proximity and telemedicine laboratories
Another issue addressed in the context of the Congress is that of ever greater proximity to citizens. “The examination must be carried out in close proximity to the patient, a diagnostic modality that will be and is already part of the therapeutic alliance in territorial medicine together with the treating physician, in particular general medicine, the specialist, the caregiver” underlines Sciacovelli. Finally, ample space for digitization. “E-health, digitalization in healthcare, telemedicine, the application of artificial intelligence, mobile health – explains the elected president Trenti – are very strong tools for integrating information, in particular diagnostics, to determine a new health model capable of connecting the needs of the citizen in all his moments and paths of care. It will thus be possible to use Big Data for the acquisition of a large amount of data for each patient capable of generating predictive, preventive, diagnostic and follow-up diagnostic algorithms, or a more precise diagnosis in ever shorter times to generate health “.