The laboratory is critical to shaping the healthcare environment that surrounds our daily working lives. Not only do we, as pathologists and medical laboratory scientists, perform key testing critical to patient care, we make the essential diagnoses that save patients’ lives every day. The knowledge we share with other members of the healthcare team continually to address the needs of patients both locally and globally positions the laboratory as a skilled leader in healthcare.
Being a leader in healthcare isn’t easy, and it’s not something that we do once; being a leader is, and must be, a constant. It requires dedication to something bigger than the laboratory—it is a dedication to patient care, and ensuring health, safety, and access for all. When the laboratory leads, everyone in healthcare benefits. In our position as leaders, and with the laboratory as the central hub of healthcare, we can identify needed changes, leverage the knowledge of where improvements can be made, and more importantly, use our role as leaders to effect that change.
In this issue of Critical Values, we explore what leadership looks like from different aspects of the laboratory. In our cover feature, we celebrate this year’s 40 Under Forty honorees, recognizing high-achieving pathologists, residents, and medical laboratory scientists. This year’s Top Five honorees are advancing the mission of the laboratory and are setting the stage for new generations of laboratory leaders.
This issue also features a look back at a decade of effective test utilization through the Choosing Wisely initiative. For 10 years, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) has been a leader of this initiative, as one of the first organizations to join with the American Board of Internal Medicine’s program that promotes the patient-physician conversation on getting the right test at the right time.
Also in this issue, Communications Writer Susan Montgomery writes about the Access to Oncology Medicines (ATOM) Coalition that ASCP has joined, working toward the primary goal of engaging generic and biosimilar manufacturers to develop and supply quality-assured essential cancer medicines at affordable prices to countries in need. The ultimate goal, of course, is to increase access to essential cancer medicines and help low- and middle-income countries develop capacity for their use. By helping to lead this initiative, ASCP ensures that patients around the globe are receiving the care they need.
In the article, “The Laboratory as a Leader in Improving Care for Marginalized Populations,” writer Jordan Rosenfeld explores how pathologists and medical laboratory scientists are in a prime position to help those in underserved populations. Improving care for all patients is a singular goal of the laboratory, and as leaders in healthcare, the data we provide, research we conduct, and collaborations we pursue with other areas of the health system and members of the care team are critical to making the needed changes, particularly for those patients who otherwise might be overlooked.
As leaders in healthcare, it’s important to remember that we cannot excel if we don’t care for ourselves in the process. The past few years have been immensely challenging, and self-care has become essential to our well-being, and to our ability to continue attending to our daily duties in the laboratory. Drs. Prayson, O’Toole, and Rowe, in their article, “Self-Care Considerations for Laboratory Professionals,” explore the role of SMART goals in self-care, and how we can best adjust and adapt to the changes we’ve experienced in recent years, and how to establish healthy habits for the future.
The reach of our leadership extends far beyond the laboratory, and as pathologists and medical laboratory scientists, it is our duty to educate our colleagues and collaborators on best practices to ensure high-quality patient care. As leaders, we must never stop pursuing the opportunities that help us achieve this goal. When we lead, we achieve, and we are STRONGERTOGETHER.
Thank you for your continued support of ASCP. Please send me your comments and suggestions at Blair.Holladay@ascp.org. My very best to each of you.