Clinical pathology (US, UK, Ireland, Commonwealth, Portugal, Brazil, Italy), laboratory medicine (Germany, Romania, Poland, Eastern Europe), clinical analysis (Spain), or clinical/medical biology (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, North and West Africa) is a medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis of disease based on the laboratory analysis of bodily fluids, such as blood, urine, and tissues using the tools of chemistry, microbiology, hematology, and molecular pathology. Clinical pathologists work in close collaboration with clinical scientists (clinical biochemists, clinical microbiologists, etc.), medical technologists, hospital administrators, and referring physicians to ensure the accuracy and optimal utilization of laboratory testing. This specialty requires a medical residency and should not be confused with biomedical science, which is not necessarily related to medicine.
Clinical pathology is one of two major divisions of pathology, the other being anatomic pathology. Often, pathologists practice both anatomical and clinical pathology, a combination sometimes known as general pathology. The distinction between clinical and anatomic pathology is increasingly blurred by the introduction of technologies that require new expertise and the need to provide patients and referring physicians with integrated diagnostic reports.
Similar specialties exist in veterinary pathology.
- Chemical pathology or clinical chemistry - an area of clinical pathology that is generally concerned with analysis of bodily fluids.
- Hematopathology - a branch of pathology which studies diseases of hematopoietic cells, which originate from the bone marrow and contribute to the cellular components of blood.
- Transfusion medicine - a branch of medicine that is concerned with the transmission of blood and blood components to a recipient.
- Clinical microbiology - a branch of medicine concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.
- Molecular pathology - a branch of pathology which is focused in the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of molecules within organs, tissues, or bodily fluids.
- Immunopathology - a branch of pathology that deals with the study of the pathology of an organism, organ system, or disease with respect to the immune system, immunity, and immune responses.
- Cytogenetics - a branch of genetics that is concerned with the study of the structure and function of the cell, especially the chromosomes.
Differences between clinical pathology and anatomic pathology
Clinical pathology is the division that processes the test requests more familiar to the general public; such as blood cell counts, coagulation studies, urinalysis, blood glucose level determinations, and throat cultures. It typically encompasses chemistry, hematology, microbiology, immunology, urinalysis, and blood bank.
Anatomic pathology relates to the processing of surgical and gynecological specimens. Its sub-specialties include surgical pathology (neuropathology, dermatopathology, etc.), cytopathology, and forensic pathology.
The differences between the two may appear to be small, but the differentiation in laboratory workflow of these two medical specialties has led to the creation of different functionalities in the laboratory information systems (LISs) and pathology computer systems often utilized while practicing these specialties. Specimen collection, receipt, and tracking; work distribution; and report generation may vary — sometimes significantly — between the two types of labs, requiring targeted functionality in the utilized software. Other differences include:
- Specific dictionary-driven tests are found in clinical pathology environments but not so much in anatomic pathology environments.
- Ordered clinical pathology tests typically require less information than anatomic pathology tests.
- A single clinical pathology order typically consists of one sample; anatomic pathology order may be comprised of several tissues from several organs.
- Clinical pathology specimen collection is routinely simple, while anatomic pathology specimen collection may be a very procedural, multi-step processes.
An element or two of this article is reused from the Wikipedia article.
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