Laboratory Medicine

Access to laboratory medicine services is critical to the diagnosis and treatment of patients as it significantly impacts a patient’s health outcomes:

  • Early diagnosis and identification of infections and disease prevents further health deterioration
  • Patients are able to receive the most appropriate treatment needed based on test results, and therefore can get well sooner
  • Patients are able to be identified as being at risk of, or having, genetic diseases (i.e. breast cancer gene) and can take appropriate preventative or early intervention actions 
  • Patients experience an improved quality of life

The LHIN’s goals in integrating laboratory medicine services are to:

  • ensure timely access to high quality laboratory services;
  • improve quality of life and treatment as a result of receiving laboratory services; and,
  • provide consistent and standardized delivery of high quality, integrated, laboratory medicine services across the LHIN at a good value.

The HNHB LHIN Laboratory Network and Council and Laboratory Medicine Medical Directors strive to achieve an Integrated Regional Laboratory Medicine Program that is driven to enhance the quality of care for all patients in the LHIN.

Laboratory Medicine Network goals include:

  • Develop a common vision and clearly defined mandate across all LHIN hospital labs
  • Improve quality and outcomes for patients at a lower cost by ensuring the right tests are performed at the right time
  • Implement standardized quality improvement plans for laboratory programs
  • Complete a regional needs assessment for genetic services
  • Establish a transfusion medicine working group with priorities developed for improving standardization and efficiencies
  • Develop an implementation plan to upgrade laboratory technology for hematology across all LHIN hospital labs
  • Through analysis of laboratory testing needs and the development of new tests, include additional tests within laboratory services as needed
  • Develop standardized physician order sets to ensure patients receive the most appropriate tests
  • Conduct performance monitoring and analysis at all laboratory medicine sites to ensure standardized quality and timely care

Laboratory Network and Council

The Laboratory Network and Council works collaboratively to achieve an Integrated Regional Laboratory Program to provide consistent and standardized quality and care across all hospital laboratory sites.

The LHIN facilitates partnerships among all hospitals currently providing laboratory medicine services.  The Laboratory Medicine Network is comprised of leaders from all LHIN hospitals that provide laboratory services and includes academic participation from McMaster University:

  • Hamilton Health Sciences
  • Niagara Health System (provides lab services for Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre)
  • St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
  • Brant Community Healthcare System
  • Joseph Brant Hospital
  • Norfolk General Hospital
  • West Haldimand General Hospital
  • Haldimand War Memorial Hospital
  • McMaster University

Laboratory Medical Directors

The Laboratory Medical Directors led the standardization of critical laboratory values across the LHIN. Critical laboratory values are defined as values that are outside the normal/healthy range to such a degree that patient safety is at immediate risk. All critical laboratory values that have been standardized have also received Medical Advisory Committee approval across all hospital sites.

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About Laboratory Medicine

A medical laboratory is a laboratory where medical tests are done on blood, cells or body tissue samples (clinical specimens) to get information about the health of a patient. This information assists with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

Laboratory medicine teams consist of highly experienced physicians, scientists, medical technologists, laboratory assistants, biologists, chemists, microbiologists, geneticists and other specialists all working collaboratively in numerous laboratories throughout the LHIN to support patients.  Athough you may rarely see these professionals, the work they complete is vital, as it supports the care of every patient in the community. 

Laboratory medicine professionals perform a variety of laboratory tests, ensure the quality of the test results, and explain the significance of laboratory test results to enhance the quality of care for patients.

About 13 million laboratory tests are completed each year in the HNHB LHIN

Through laboratory medicine programs, specialty tests can be completed for patients, to improve the quality of their care and positively impact their health outcomes.  Examples of specialty laboratory tests include:

  • Detection of abnormal cells that cause leukemia (Cytopathology) or diseased body tissue samples (Histopathology)
  • The identification of the type of bacteria causing an infection (Clinical microbiology) therefore allowing treatment with the most appropriate medicines
  • Evaluations of blood, bone marrow, lymph nodes (Hematopathology)
  • Breast cancer screening, and detection of DNA markers for genetic diseases (Laboratory genetics)
  • Blood transfusions to replace blood lost during surgery or illness (Transfusion medicine)