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In the New York Times: ASCP Leader Discusses Workforce Shortage’s Effect on Patient Care

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The article below appeared in the New York Times on July 30, 2012.

Help Wanted in the Lab

To the Editor:

When Health’s at Stake, Waiting Is the Hardest Part” (July 24) brings attention to a critical issue in patient-centric care: the importance of communicating test results in a timely manner.

One factor related to patient wait times that was not addressed is a growing laboratory work force shortage. The Department of Labor projects that to meet demand, approximately 11,000 medical laboratory professionals will be needed each year through 2018. Unfortunately, only about 6,000 individuals are graduating each year from accredited or approved educational training programs.

Medical laboratory professionals play a critical role in patient health care, arming physicians with test results, which inform 70 percent of all medical diagnoses and treatment regimens. Without an increase in training programs, increased wait times for test results, whether they come directly from the laboratory or from a physician, may make it even more difficult to meet the public’s demand for prompt results.

Blair Holladay


The writer is executive vice president of the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

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