They're the behind-the-scenes team members you may never meet, but their work is critical to your health.
Lab professionals are vital members of your health care team. When your healthcare provider is looking for answers, they may turn to laboratory tests. Medical laboratory professionals work around the clock, using a variety of instruments and equipment to collect, prepare and analyze tissue and fluid samples from nearly every part of your body, in order to provide accurate and timely results important to medical decisions about your health.
Lab professionals are critical members of your health care team, though you might never meet one.
The professions of lab staff vary from support positions to technologists to physicians, all with specialized training working together to provide this important service. In Canada, over 1.2 million lab tests are performed every day, and 500 cases of cancer are diagnosed every day in the lab. More than 20 patients are diagnosed with Diabetes every hour.
"It's claimed that up to 80 per cent of medical decisions are based on some type of result from a lab," says Dr Fergall Magee, Department Head of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine for Saskatoon Health Region
Within the Saskatoon Health Region, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine employs close to 500 staff members with various areas of expertise, working in laboratories throughout the hospitals. The ones members of the public are most likely to interact with are the phlebotomists - those who collect blood samples. The majority of staff are working in the background, and don't have direct patient interaction, though their work impacts them directly.
Samples collected at acute care sites, the Saskatoon Cancer Agency, Dynacare Community Laboratories, Physicians' offices, and other Region-affiliated facilities are tested in the laboratories located at the three acute care facilities in Saskatoon. Fifteen rural sites provide blood collection, perform a variety of tests in house, and transport some tests into Saskatoon as well. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Saskatoon Health Region laboratories performed 10,401,696 tests.
April 16 to 22 is National Medical Laboratory Professionals week in Canada. This week allows the many professionals who work in our medical labs show the public what they do, and educate them about what happens in the lab.
Some internal events are being held to recognize this special week. See the poster in Region Weekly for more details.
For more information about Laboratory Professionals, visit medlabprofessionals.ca.