3 Reasons Why
I Love the Lab
by Eric Hrimech
Executive Vice President, Laboratory Solutions, North America Diagnostics
July 1, 2023
Having started my career with pipette and petri dish in hand, I have always felt a sense of kinship and gratitude for the important work that happens in the lab day in and day out. In honor of laboratorians across North America and the world, I am sharing the top three reasons why I love the lab.
1. The lab is a critical component of the healthcare ecosystem.
As the intermediate step between practitioners and patients, the lab's role is critical in creating a clear picture that informs and guides diagnosis and treatment. With more than 70% of all clinical decisions coming from test results, the importance of the lab cannot be understated.
In my experience as a laboratorian and now at Siemens Healthineers, the best labs are those that deeply care for the patients they serve. From that fundamental desire to do good, a wealth of opportunity exists – to improve workflows, introduce innovative technologies, improve speed and accuracy, and maximize throughput. In the end, it’s about delivering results that matter.
2. The lab is constantly evolving.
At the start of my career, everything I used in the lab was manual. Test processing required mastery of multiple steps and devices to process blood samples and produce a reliable result. Today, labs are equipping their teams with powerful technologies that speed up those processes and enable labs to perform exponentially more tests in the same amount of time and with an improved level of accuracy. Today, technology continues to become more affordable and more powerful, with one instrument now about to process multiple assays – an incredible improvement from where I started.
When I think back on the early days of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) testing, I remember the weeks that it took to deliver results for a patient. Today, that same test takes minutes, shortening the window between test, diagnosis, and treatment. And just as the technology to test and diagnose HIV benefited from incredible innovation, advances continue to be made in critical areas like radiology, oncology, and diabetes. The lab is continuously upping their game, adapting to challenges, and delivering fast and accurate results.
3. The lab is brought to life by a highly skilled workforce.
When a new laboratorian begins their first day on the job, they arrive with knowledge of the science. From that point forward they are constantly learning new skills, technology, and testing procedures to deliver results in the face of increasing pressures and demand. Lab technicians are required to maintain an elevated level of knowledge and expertise that rivals any industry. There is always a new platform to learn, and skills to enhance.
With the consolidation that is taking place in the U.S., the fastest growing IDNs (Integrated Delivery Networks of healthcare facilities) are now looking at how to position their labs geographically to attract this highly skilled workforce. Labs need to go where the talent is. Expertise is needed to support the rising demand of core and specialty lab testing. The ability to master a profession while continuing to be open to new learnings is at the core of the lab.