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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2018 Dec 4. pii: /j/cclm.ahead-of-print/cclm-2018-0609/cclm-2018-0609.xml. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2018-0609. [Epub ahead of print]

Teaching the pony new tricks: competences for specialists in laboratory medicine to meet the challenges of disruptive innovation.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Minerva Road, Bolton BL4 0JR, UK.


The 20th century digital revolution has already seen the introduction of faster, more diverse, easier to use technologies with extended capacity and capability that has enhanced productivity in Laboratory Medicine and allowed more effective use of human resource. With increasing demands for better health and best care the challenge to future healthcare systems is to deploy technology, facilities and human resources more effectively. For the 21st century the digital age heralds opportunities for information-led technology providers to become healthcare providers when algorithm driven care can support patients' needs at the point of care close to or in their homes. For Specialists in Laboratory Medicine the opportunity arises for working beyond the laboratory in partnership with the emerging providers. The challenge to specialists is to extend their skill and competence to leadership roles that (a) determine clinical need and strategic direction for local environments, (b) ensure technology solutions are cost-effective, safe and reliable, (c) assume the business acumen to market, negotiate and manage change in services, (d) expect understanding of the clinical bioinformatics that underpin genomics, health information science (data mining and health economics) and physical sciences (e) expect knowledge and skills in the provision of direct clinical care in the face of staffing shortfalls experienced by many healthcare systems and (f) enhance their communication and interactive skills. In growing their leadership contribution a partnership approach in education and training across healthcare divides, in conjunction with the diagnostics and/or information technology industries, through integrated professional organisation approaches, joint approaches with academia and policy related healthcare organisations is recommended.


algorithm driven care; artificial intelligence; competencies; digital age; information technology; leadership; specialist in laboratory medicine


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