Clinical pathology is a specialty that studies samples of body cells to diagnose and monitor medical conditions. Clinical pathologists perform laboratory testing procedures to examine and interpret patients' samples. Clinical pathologists conduct a broad range of diagnostic tests, from routine blood sugar tests to molecular screenings. Clinical pathologists are doctors who have completed additional training in pathology and play a critical role in the medical system by providing or confirming diagnoses so that patients are more likely to receive appropriate care. Clinical pathologists may also conduct research that leads to a greater knowledge of diseases, facilitating the development of new and improved treatments.
Clinical pathology is divided into several areas, or subspecialties. each of which focuses on a specific type of test or group of diseases. Clinical pathologists may specialize in a variety of areas of clinical pathology, including:
Physicians may submit specimens from patients that are at risk of having a disorder for analysis. Such samples may be collected through blood draw, biopsy (small amount of removed tissue), and fine needle aspiration (fluid drawn from a thin needle), among other techniques. Clinical pathologists may use microscopic examination to visually analyze patient samples. More advanced techniques clinical pathologists may use include:
Clinical pathologists may work alongside physicians, clinical scientists, pathology lab technicians, clinical laboratory technologists, and other medical professionals.