Increasing pressures to use lesser-trained workers in clinical microbiology laboratories and to employ short-cut methods can lead to compromises in the quality of microbiological analysis and detract from optimal patient care unless preventive steps are taken, warns a report issued by the American Academy of Microbiology.
"An inappropriate focus on bottom-line accounting also undervalues the most precious resource of the clinical microbiologist: time," says the report, Clinical Microbiology in the Changing World of Health Care Management. "The primary challenge facing the clinical microbiologist as the 21st century approaches is that of integrating new technologies and molecular-based methodologies with existing methods to provide cost-effective, high-quality microbiology service."
The report is the result of a colloquium held June 27-29, 1997, in Washington, D.C. The colloquium was convened to assess the impact of current and future changes in health care on clinical microbiologists and the practice of clinical microbiology.
"One purpose of this colloquium was to identify the emerging problems that have developed as a result of changes in technology, the economic environment, and biological research," says Dr. Noel R. Rose of Johns Hopkins University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, one of the chairs of the colloquium steering committee and primary author of the report.
"But more importantly, we wanted to try and recommend solutions to these issues
before they become intractable problems. Efforts are urgently needed to study
and implement methods for addressing the issues we have identified."
Changes in health care that affect clinical microbiology are taking place on
multiple levels. One of the most important involves the ongoing changes in
infectious disease pathogens, patient populations, and clinical presentations of
infectious disease. Existing capabilities for diagnosing and managing newly
recognized disease p
Contact: Jim Sliwa
American Society for Microbiology