LifeBridge Health - Department of Pathology
The Department of Pathology at LifeBridge Health includes the traditional divisions and sections of both Anatomic and Clinical Pathology; such as Autopsy Pathology, Surgical Pathology, Cytopathology, Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, Immunology, Microbiology and Transfusion Medicine. There are also specialized laboratories which are devoted to Immunopathology, Toxicology, and Flow Cytometry. The Department uses the most modern and sophisticated techniques and strives to maintain the highest quality of performance. The staff consists of more than 120 professionals. These include medical technologists, medical laboratory assistants, team leaders, technical specialists, clinical scientists, pathologist assistants, management support and administrative staff. There are 6 staff pathologists, all having earned certification by the American Board of Pathology. In addition, there are 6 consultants who provide special expertise that complements services in a broad range of areas.
The laboratory is federally certified under CLIA ‘88, licensed by the State of Maryland and fully accredited by national accrediting agencies, including the College of American Pathologists, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, the Food and Drug Administration, and the American Association of Blood Banks. The quality of work is continuously monitored by internal quality control programs, participation in proficiency testing programs from multiple external agencies, and through participation in hospital-wide quality improvement programs. Many of the laboratory divisions are operative 7 days a week, around the clock, every day of the year. Furthermore, staff pathologists, pathology assistants and others are available at all times for consultation. A staff pathologist is on call in Clinical Pathology and in Anatomic Pathology. They can be reached by dialing the hospital page operator, who call them at home or summon them by page.
Pathology is the discipline of study of disease and of comprehension of disease. In practice, pathology is a broad based medical specialty that cuts across every other medical specialty and interfaces with them. The Pathologist is a physician who practices in the laboratory. The essence of the practice of pathology involves examination and testing of patient samples and ensuring the relevance and appropriateness of the results of the testing to the patient's condition. In the Department of Pathology annually we perform more than 1,150,000 tests. The process of testing is a complicated one and involves obtaining the proper specimen and patient history, the testing or examination itself and finally the generation of the report.
THE TESTING ACTIVITY CASCADE:
This is a complex sequence of activities that revolves around the patient and involves many individuals in the areas of care giving, testing, information systems and others. The testing itself is but one phase of this complex but coordinated multistep process (Fig. 1). Traditionally, the Department of Pathology has always been required by accrediting and regulatory agencies to demonstrate responsibility and authority for the testing phase of the testing activity cascade. In the past, the spread of responsibility and authority for the pre-analytical and postanalytical phases of testing were somewhat diffuse and did not lend themselves to easy accountability or verification. when problems arose in these areas, the resolutions were difficult and often the accountability for this was not well def ined. All that has changed now.
Currently, the Pathology Department and its leadership are held wholly accountable and responsible for all phases of the testing activity cascade. The Department takes this responsibility seriously and is extensively involved in overseeing the quality control and quality assurance activities of the pre- and postanalytical phases of testing. We invite and encourage you to participate in maintaining the highest standards of quality and excellence in these areas. The quality and dependability of the test results can not be any more reliable than the quality and reliability of the patient sample on the one hand and the testing itself on the other. We keep a watchful eye and continuous vigil on the quality of testing performed within the Department. You the care giver and laboratory user must become our partner to ensure the quality of the specimen and the associated information that you send us. The accuracy, reliability and the clinical relevance of our product and services are the joint responsibility of the users and the Department itself.