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N Engl J Med. 1978 Feb 23;298(8):422-7.

Clinical laboratories. Profit center, production industry or patient-care resource?


The clinical laboratory is an essential component of the medical-care system. Rapidly increasing expenditures for laboratory services, fraudulent practices and reports of laboratory error are precipitating legislative and regulatory actions that will affect clinical laboratories and how they are used by physicians in caring for their patients. Many problems related to clinical laboratories are due to the rapid introduction of new technologies, to methods of educating medical students and house officers, to the rapidly expanding scientific base of medicine and to economic factors that have subordinated medical and scientific objectives in the laboratory to economic ones. Implementation of existing legislation would settle many of the economic issues, but more effective integration of the clinical laboratory into the patient-care process and better methods for educating medical students in the use of laboratory information are critical tasks for the medical profession.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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