Laboratory professionals are an important part of the health care picture – but much of their work is behind the scenes.
Medical laboratory professionals provide up to 70 percent of the data providers need to make informed decisions about diagnosis and treatment plans.
The part of a lab professional’s work which is more visible is when they are taking your blood or other specimens for analysis. Once specimens are obtained, medical laboratory professionals conduct complex and important work on those specimens. Medical laboratory professionals do testing that provides clues that are key in diagnosis and treatment of disease or injury.
“The behind the scenes work is largely invisible to patients – but the behind the scenes work may very well save your life,” said Cari Wise, JCH&L laboratory manager.
Some of the important tests conducted by laboratory professions include:
- prioritizing and performing complex, rapid molecular testing during outbreaks like the current COVID-19 pandemic.
- typing and matching blood during emergency and routine surgery and for transfusions.
- providing life-saving diagnoses for genetic disorders like sickle cell disease, healthcare associated infections (HAIs) such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and chronic conditions like cancer or diabetes.
The JCH&L lab includes services for inpatients, outpatients and Fairbury Clinic patients. The lab has 8 staff members who cover all laboratory needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is always a laboratory professional on call to take care of whatever laboratory needs providers might have for their patients.
Many laboratory tests are run in the lab at JCH&L, giving providers results in minutes or hours, depending on the nature of the test. Some more complex texts must be sent out to other larger laboratories, giving results in days or week, depending on the nature of the test.
The JCH&L laboratory has recently begun offering Wellness Wednesdays and Fasting Fridays, which allow patients to request certain common blood tests without a doctor’s order. The screenings are not billed to insurance and must be paid at the time of service. Appointments are required at least 24 hours in advance. These tests are available on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. More information can be found at
JCHealthandLife.org/ /care-services/laboratory/ or call 402-729-3351 and ask for a brochure.
The laboratory also works with local businesses who need drug screens for employees.