For 70 years, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) has fostered excellence in laboratories and advanced the practice of pathology and laboratory science. In an interview with Medlab Magazine, Patrick E. Godbey, MD, FCAP, President-elect, College of American Pathologists (CAP), Founder, CEO, and Laboratory Director, Southeastern Pathology Associates, Brunswick, Georgia, U.S., shares some key insights on the current trends transforming the laboratory.
What has been the impact of advancements, such as point-of-care-testing (POCT), big data, automation, and personalised medicine, on the industry?
The CAP is accustomed to advancement and change in an ever-evolving healthcare environment. The impact for the CAP is a continued diligence to monitor how these changes affect laboratories and patients. Not only do we monitor, we also lead and participate in these changes to ensure such advancements do not impede the delivery of high-quality laboratory medicine for the patients we serve. We have dedicated CAP-member pathologists who serve tirelessly on a myriad of committees that address any changes in laboratory medicine. Whether POCT, personalised medicine, automation, or big data, the CAP will ensure its external quality assurance and accreditation programmes reflect current-day laboratory medicine as well as support laboratory professionals in their day-to-day practice.
Has the regional laboratory industry been quick to adopt these trends?
Rapid change has become a defining feature of pathology. Along with growing regulatory requirements in many markets and the increased need for laboratory services, other factors are driving change in the laboratory market. These factors include the rising prevalence of chronic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes. The resulting increase in routine testing is likely to lead to even greater automation.
How has the industry evolved in the Middle East?
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is seeing an upsurge of new testing methods to support initiatives such as personalised medicine and point-of-care testing. In addition, there is government pressure to see rapid development as investment and demand for healthcare in the Middle East grow. The region is also experiencing new concepts of medical practice characterised by prediction, personalisation, prevention, and patient participation.
There is an increasing demand to reduce costs, which results in pressure to use fewer resources. As in other areas of healthcare, industry consolidation is prevalent in laboratories with the goal of achieving increased economies of scale.
Dr. Godbey has been an active CAP member for more than 20 years and has served on numerous CAP committees and councils, including as chair/vice chair on the Council on Government and Professional Affairs, Council on Accreditation, Council on Membership and Professional Development, Investment Committee, and Finance Committee. He has also served as a CAP inspector for the Laboratory Accreditation Program. In 2011 and again in 2014, the CAP membership elected him to serve on its Board of Governors; and in 2017, he was elected as CAP president-elect.