Tracing our roots: new opportunities and new challenges in clinical laboratory science (1977-1992).

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Clinical laboratory science : journal of the American Society for Medical Technology

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OBJECTIVE: To describe new opportunities and challenges facing clinical laboratory science between 1977 and 1992. DESIGN: A survey of literature on the history of clinical laboratory science was conducted. References consulted include various books and professional journals. CONCLUSION: Between 1977 and 1992 the role of clinical laboratory scientist continued to evolve and expand as new tests and instruments were introduced. Over time, they began to assume greater responsibilities for analyzing and interpreting test results, evaluating and implementing quality assurance programs and new methodologies, and became involved, to a greater extent, in laboratory management and supervision, education, and research. A wide variety of career opportunities were opened to clinical laboratory scientists, providing them with employment opportunities beyond the milieu of the clinical laboratory. Federal regulations aimed at controlling cost of healthcare had a significant effect on the clinical laboratory and clinical laboratory personnel. Stricter guidelines for reimbursement of laboratory services by third-party payees and private insurers forced laboratories to scrutinize their costs and develop creative strategies to attract clients. Attrition, job satisfaction, salaries, and personnel shortages grew in importance during this period as well, prompting research in these areas.

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