Laboratory Medicine is a crucial discipline that contributes to the diagnosis, management and monitoring of patients. This branch of medicine faces two major challenges: New technologies and increased demand. There is limited information available of the state of affairs in Laboratory Medicine in Spain. This study provides a picture of clinical laboratories and clinical laboratory professionals.
The Spanish Society of Laboratory Medicine distributed a questionnaire among the 250 most representative centers (the ones with the largest volume of determinations and training programs), of which 174 (69.6%) returned the questionnaire providing data for 2019.
Laboratories were classified according to the number of determinations. In total, 37% identified themselves as small (<1 million determinations per year); 40% considered themselves medium-sized (1¿5 million determinations per year) and 23% considered they were large laboratories (>5 million determinations). The level of specialization of laboratory physicians and laboratory performance were higher in large laboratories. Most requests (87%) and determinations (93%) corresponded to biochemistry and hematology. As many as 63% of physicians had an indefinite contract, and 23% were older than 60 years.
Laboratory medicine is a consolidated discipline that is gaining relevance in Spain. It adds value to the diagnosis, prognosis and follow-up of diseases, and to treatment response monitoring. The results of this study will help us address challenges such as the need for specialized training for laboratory professionals; the emergence of technological innovations; exploitation of Big Data; optimization of quality management systems and patient safety.