The Cinderellas of health care

Mirja Mindemark1,2,*

1Core Lab & Critical Care, Roche Diagnostics Scandinavia AB, Bromma, 2Clinical Chemistry, Akademiska sjukhuset, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Once upon a time not that long ago, in a kingdom not very far away at all, there was not only one, but several unappreciated, underestimated characters being taken for granted.

They work quietly in the background, but although they are often not seen or acknowledged for what they do, their work saves lives, promotes health and saves costs, and

They are likely to play a part in everyone’s lives, for many of us, more than once.

They have been around in different forms for centuries, are the main source of objective medical data and an essential part of modern patient-centered health care.

They aid clinicians and other health care personnel in diagnosis, management and treatment of patients.

They mustn’t cost anything, are granted only very limited budgets, and they get no praise even though they help others save vast amounts of money (and lives).

Who are they then, these Cinderellas of health care? They are, of course, the clinical laboratories, the diagnostic tests and the laboratory staff that supply, perform, control and report them.

So how might we all make this story end with a happily ever after? How do we make sure that diagnostic tests get to attend the ball? How can it be shown that the glass slipper fits indeed?

To illustrate and highlight the usefulness and importance of laboratory tests, we need to look at the tangible examples where the information provided by the test has a clear and demonstrable impact on patient care and outcome as well as on the health care budget.  Such examples include, but are not limited to, F-calprotectin, S100B, NTproBNP, and high sensitive Troponin T.

Illustrative examples such as the above combined with the laboratories increasingly taking on the role of diagnostic partners and actively highlighting and communicating the medical value that diagnostics bring to overall patient care is likely part of the answer.

Keywords: Biomarker, Laboratory organization