April 21 – 27, 2019 is marked as Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, an annual celebration of lab workers who play a vital role in health care and patient advocacy.

Unsung heroes of patient diagnoses

When you think about the many faces of healthcare, your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, or other frontline care providers likely come to mind.  However, did you know that up to 70 percent of all medical decisions are based on test results delivered by laboratory workers?  In addition to those at your hospital, HCA Healthcare has thousands of dedicated professionals across the nation who facilitate laboratory testing—one of the highest volume activities across our hospital system.

From our phlebotomists to our pathology laboratorians, HCA Healthcare’s laboratory professionals play a critical role in patient diagnosis and treatment. For these often unsung medical professionals, speed and accuracy are important to provide quality, precise and timely patient care.

“Every day, I’m learning something new,” says Maria Parker, who was a medical lab technician in the U.S. Army for five years before joining HCA Healthcare at John Randolph Medical Center. “When I look at a specimen under the microscope, I am able to learn something new about the patient. I really enjoy this job and hope to do it for the rest of my career.”
“Speed and accuracy are everything,” says Sue Evert, who has served as lab director at Englewood Community Hospital since 1998.

Laboratory Stewardship

At HCA Healthcare, these lab professionals and our organization as a whole are working hard to ensure the right test is delivered to the right patient at the right time.  Our Laboratory Stewardship initiative is part of a national effort to define and implement best practices associated with lab testing to improve care delivery through appropriate test utilization.  We are committed to advancing better utilization of lab resources, which will ultimately enhance the value of patient care

Quality care is our first priority, and we see an opportunity to ensure we are providing the best possible care by asking the question, “Is this test really needed?”  Lab Stewardship programs have the potential to positively impact the healthcare system by increasing patient satisfaction while reducing cost.

“Patients don’t realize that one of the main reasons a doctor can come to you and say, ‘Yes, you are sick,’ is because their blood work has been processed in a quality, precise way,” says Chrishell Hubbart, lab director at Brigham City Community Hospital. “Without a lab, you don’t have a hospital. You can’t take care of patients or perform surgeries without lab tests.”

We are proud of the work our laboratory colleagues do every day, and to share how important their roles are to our delivery of excellent patient outcomes and experiences.

Happy Medical Laboratory Professionals Week!

Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD

President, Clinical Services Group & Chief Medical Officer

HCA Healthcare

Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin is president, clinical services and chief medical officer of Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare. He provides leadership for clinical services and improving performance at HCA Healthcare’s 185 hospitals and more than 1,000 outpatient surgical, urgent care and other practice units.