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Only qualified pathologists have the clinical acumen to analyze & review diagnostic reports: Experts

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Friday, May 31, 2019, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Medical experts in the area of pathology labs in Karnataka have opined that only qualified pathologists should head the diagnostic centres because only a qualified pathologist has the clinical acumen to analyze and review medical reports of samples and specimens like blood, saliva, sputum and body fluids as well as tissues.

In the wake of the Union health ministry’s draft Second Amendment Rules to the Clinical Establishments Act issued by the ministry on March 15 this year, path labs in the State call for the requirement that only qualified persons armed with a pathology degree can man and operate labs.
According to Dr Prathima K M, head, Laboratory Medicine, Vikram Hospital, Bengaluru, laboratory reports are not just values of positive and negative results derived from an instrument and signed out by a person. It indicates the health status of an individual. It requires expertise with clinical acumen to review the reports cautiously, interpret, take responsibility for the verified reports as the patient care depends on these lab reports. Basic technicians with minimum educational qualification have only technical skills to perform the test. Now a technician with no medical knowledge cannot understand the clinical significance of medical reports. Evidence-based medicine requires medical expertise for clinical pathological correlation and frequent updation with recent advances to improve patient care.
Therefore it is justified to have a medical personnel with MBBS and Post graduate qualification in pathology/microbiology/biochemistry to authorize the lab reports, added Dr. Prathima.
“Key aspect in medical laboratories is to maintain quality check and adhere to best practice guidelines. We welcome the suggestions in the 2nd amendment. This brings in more authenticity and transparency in laboratories performing in medical tests on physician’s advice and the results being interpreted by a qualified medical practitioner”, noted Dr. Mahesha Vankalakunti, HOD, Lab Medicine, Manipal Hospitals Bengaluru.

"Nowadays the doctors are depending on the diagnostic reports to treat the patients and advice medication accordingly. Laboratory tests have become the backbone of medical treatment and accuracy and authenticity is imperative to enable the doctor to follow the correct path of treatment. It is important that diagnostic centers are run by people who have strong background and knowledge of the diagnostic tests as well as such centers follow a set of detailed guidelines for high-quality results. The reality in India is that the pathologists/MBBS doctors are not available in semi-urban and rural areas. Strict guidelines are needed to be devised and adhered to. Quality inspectors should be made responsible in case violations are detected, said Dr. Archana Nirula, senior medical officer, myUpchar which is a health-tech company co-founded by Stanford University alumni Rajat Garg and Manuj Garg that launched a diagnostic lab network in Lucknow.


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