Date of Graduation
The critical shortage of clinical laboratory scientists indicates an urgency for planning for the future. A three-round Delphi study explored the future of the clinical laboratory science profession as predicted by a panel of experts. Thirty-two nationally known authorities in the field were invited and 24 agreed to participate as an expert panel. The first round asked the panelists to respond to the statement, â€œAs I consider the next 20 years of clinical laboratory science as a profession, I believe that the following events might occur.â€ Round One generated more than 200 events which the investigator synthesized into a 147-event survey. In Round Two, panelists were asked to indicate time frame, degree of impact, and desirability for each item, and the investigator then calculated the mean for each item. The third round consisted of an individual survey for each panelist. Each received the items for which he or she differed from the median along with the median for each response. Panelists were asked to change their answers to agree with the median, or to justify their dissenting answers as minority opinions. The events for which consensus was achieved led to scenarios of the future of the clinical laboratory science profession. Several significant events were forecast by the expert panel. Reimbursement for laboratory services will continue to decrease until government is forced to develop a realistic reimbursement system. The aging of the American population will result in increased laboratory testing, burdening the inadequately-staffed laboratories. The shortage of laboratorians will become critical. Laboratorians will need to strengthen their support system through merging of certifying bodies and collaboration between the two prominent professional organizations. As well, they will need to support personnel licensure to ensure that appropriately qualified clinical laboratory scientists will be providing laboratory services. Technological advances will require a significantly expanded knowledge base for laboratorians, and scope of practice will include additional management skills as well as more sophisticated technical performance. The clinical doctorate will enable clinical laboratory scientists to become an integral part of the health care team, making rounds and providing consultation, interpretation, and decisions. Clinical laboratory science programs will require external funding to remain viable. Ph.D. faculty will be required to participate in funded research and collaboration among programs will be essential.
Kirby, Beverly A., "The future of clinical laboratory science: A Delphi study." (2007). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9193.