Pathology and laboratory medicine are a key component of a patient’s healthcare. From academic care centres, community hospitals, to clinics across the country, pathology data are a crucial component of patient care. But for much of the modern era, pathology and laboratory medicine have been absent from health policy conversations. Though select members in the field have advocated for an enhanced presence of these specialists in policy conversations, little work has been done to thoroughly evaluate the moral and ethical obligations of the pathologist and the role they play in healthcare justice and access to care. In order to make any substantive improvements in access to care, pathology and laboratory medicine must have a seat at the table. Specifically, pathologists and laboratorians can assist in bringing about change through improving clinician test choice, continuing laboratory improvement programmes, promoting just advanced diagnostic distribution, triage testing and be good stewards of healthcare dollars, and recruiting a more robust laboratory workforce. In order to get to that point, much work has to be done in pathology education and the laboratory personnel training pipeline but there also needs to be adjustments at the system level to better involve this invaluable group of specialists in these policy conversations.
- distributive justice
- allocation of healthcare resources
- quality of health care
- health workforce
Data availability statement
Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. No data are available.
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Contributors CML completed the initial draft and was responsible for final edits and formatting and submitting the paper. KMM added professional expertise and added edits to the first draft and contributed significantly to the editing during the peer-review process.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.