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Blood Basics for Patients

Pathologists ensure that accuracy checks occur at every step

What Happens to Your Blood Sample?

As a routine screening, or based on how you’re feeling, your doctor may order blood tests. Often, doctors will consult with the pathologist to ensure you receive the right test for you. As leaders in medical laboratories, pathologists provide skilled expertise behind the scenes.

After your blood samples are collected, a journey in quality and accuracy begins. Your samples are sent to the laboratory where they are labeled with patient identifiers unique to you. These identifiers are cross-checked throughout the process. In the medical lab, pathologists are the doctors who set and monitor quality standards. They ensure that accuracy checks occur at every step. This commitment to quality is vital because pathologists and laboratory testing inform 70% of all medical decisions. In fact, laboratory tests account for approximately 94% of all data in a typical patient's health record.

In the laboratory, skilled, licensed medical professionals—trained to perform the requested analysis—begin the examination. Pathologists oversee the analysis and interpret your test results. Urgent tests are always performed first.

Once the analysis is complete, the laboratory team sends your doctor a report about your test results. When needed, your doctor may consult with the pathologist to determine if additional testing is required, or to discuss the best next steps in your treatment. Your doctor uses this information, along with other vital information about your health, to discuss with you the best treatment plan for you.

Find an Accredited Lab

The CAP's laboratory accreditation program helps participating laboratories meet and exceed federal regulatory requirements. In fact, CAP-accredited labs achieve laboratory medicine's highest established standards of quality, value, and efficiency.

Ensuring Blood Supply Safety

When it comes to donating blood or receiving a blood transfusion, many experts and resources operate behind the scenes to keep donors, patients, and our blood supply safe.

Safety begins with initial donor screening at blood donation centers and continues through to blood banks at local hospitals. Here, pathologists specializing in transfusion medicine direct and manage blood supply safety. Across the U.S., each unit of donated blood undergoes a range of rigorous laboratory tests to routinely screen for a range of potential infectious diseases. In the hospital blood bank, pathologists ensure that all required as well as additional testing is performed so that patients can be assured of safe transfusions.

Take a journey behind the scenes in a blood bank to meet the pathologists who examine blood samples and guarantee accuracy and quality you can count on every time.

Your Blood Sample: What Happens Next?

Learn how pathologists play a role in overseeing the analysis and interpreting test results.

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