Pop quiz: Did you know that over 70% of information in your medical chart is laboratory generated data?

That’s right, most of what your doctor knows about you isn’t even from them.

Did you also know that the Philadelphia Public Health Laboratory performs over 300,000 tests per year? Did you even know that the Health Department has a lab?!

The tests our laboratory professionals do include everything from general health screenings, diabetes testing, sexually transmitted disease testing, and general microbiology testing.  In addition, testing is also performed on samples collected from any disease outbreaks that we investigate.

Do you know who performs these tests?

As much as we like to think we live in a wholly computerized world, it’s not computers filling up your medical chart. It is the unknown heroes of the medical field – Medical Technologists, Medical Laboratory Scientists and Medical Technicians.

Laboratory scientist’s work helps to detect, diagnose and monitor serious diseases for one patient, or for a population of patients. They have at a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Chemistry, or Laboratory Science with a year internship plus national certification.  Many of staff members within the Philadelphia Public Health Laboratory also have master’s degrees.

This week, April 22 – 28, is National Laboratory Professionals Week, celebrating the contributions of all the laboratory professionals who play a vital role in the healthcare system.

If you know a laboratory professional, please thank them for the work they do, we certainly are.