Right now, it’s still difficult to speak about globalization or standardization as the world of laboratory medicine is very diverse and constantly changing. Anyway, I just want to share some thoughts that we catch with some of the IFCC / AACC actions.
We have to admit that as Young Scientists (YS) we are challenged by the ongoing evolution of laboratory medicine. These changes raise a number of questions for YS related to our training, our careers, our needs and our future role in the medical field. To play a role in such an evolving environment, YS have to be aware not only of our strengths but also of our weaknesses. Our strengths include a diverse background (YS over the world include PhD, MD, as well as pharmacists), complementary training (chemistry, molecular biology, hematology, endocrinology…), the ability to deal with information and communication technologies, the perspectives of several career pathways (hospital laboratory, academic laboratory, research laboratory, private laboratory, in vitro diagnostic industry, regulatory affairs…), the rise of new technologies (automation, mass spectrometry, “omics”, personalized and integrated care, nanotechnologies, home testing…). YS must also realize that we are a crucial cornerstone or liaison between patients, physicians, pharmaceutical industry, in vitro diagnostic industry and researchers.
On another hand, our diverse background, the exponential increase of medical knowledge, the rise of new areas of required competences (operations management, quality and accreditation management, information and communication, marketing and services, research), and our relative individual inexperience could be viewed as weaknesses. The ability to identify and understand such strengths and weaknesses is crucial for YS to prepare not only for our individual futures but also for YS as a group to direct the future of laboratory medicine.
The future of laboratory medicine will likely involve YS determining the value of certain laboratory tests (the Value Equation; Value = Benefit/Cost). Already in these hard financial times, young scientists working in public or commercial laboratories have to deal with reality of reducing expenses. Developing this economic skill should now be a priority for a young pro-active scientist working in such a challenging environment.
In order to confront these important issues in our future as YS and for laboratory medicine in general, and to advocate for laboratory medicine to remain at the center of healthcare, initiating and sustaining global networking between YS will be needed to share our diverse training and experience.
Efficient networking strategies rely on both an efficient e-platform (web-based activities, and other forms of electronic communication) as well as attendance at international conferences and international exchange programs and partnerships. Building these partnerships and will allow for the rapid dissemination of new information and materials presented during networking sessions and conferences on a global scale./
As Young scientists we will play a crucial role in guiding the future of laboratory medicine and we need to develop multidisciplinary interactions in order to improve laboratory efficiency and patient care. Young scientists should be aware of the various opportunities offered by laboratory medicine and the needs of young scientists should be integrated into their training to prepare them for such a promising future. The building of networking activities devoted to young scientists is therefore mandatory to address those important issues and to understand the global evolution of laboratory medicine.