Pathology is a section of the healthcare system that takes place behind the scenes, tucked away in laboratories and, as a result, is an area of medicine that is largely misunderstood. Often pathology can open up a plethora of questions such as: why do I need a pathology test; where can I have a test; how safe is the testing; how is a pathology test fee calculated; and how should I go about genetic testing?
In response to this, a series of factsheets have been created by the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) to answer some of the most common questions and help dispel some of the confusion. Professor Yee Khong, President of the RCPA explains that the factsheets will shed some light on what pathologists do and the roles they play within Australians’ everyday lives.
“These days, the closest the general public comes to a pathologist is likely to be in an episode of a fictional US crime show. That’s okay, however we wanted to take steps to ensure people can find answers to the everyday questions that affect their lives by giving them all the facts,” says Professor Khong.
The factsheets have been compiled from in-depth interviews with numerous pathologists, covering the full breadth of pathology disciplines; Anatomical; Chemical; Clinical; Forensic; General; Genetic; Haematology; Immunopathology; and Microbiology. In order to develop these resources, extensive consultations were conducted with GPs, other requestors and patients. The Department of Health and Ageing’s Quality Use of Pathology Program has acknowledged the importance of raising the profile of pathology and pathologists amongst the general public by funding the development of these factsheets.
“The RCPA is very grateful for the funding it received from the Department of Health and Ageing. Previous to this, there has not been a huge amount of information readily available to the public on pathology. These factsheets are very easy for anyone to obtain via the RCPA website. Simply log on and download or print off your own copy. We are also providing some GP surgeries with cards to give to patients, encouraging them to take a look at the factsheets,” says Professor Khong.
“In truth, pathology arguably plays the most vital role within medicine, affecting the lives of each and every Australian. Pathologists are specialist medical practitioners who study diseases by examining changes in tissues, blood and fluids. Although we don’t see pathologists in our dealings with doctors at hospital appointments, they are responsible for analysing all diseases and, to an extent, providing a prognosis and recommending treatment; all of which is central to understanding medicine,” says Professor Khong.
To download the factsheets, visit - http://www.rcpa.edu.au/Publications/Pathology_Facts.htm
About the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia:
The RCPA is the leading organisation representing pathologists in Australasia. Its mission is to train and support pathologists and to improve the use of pathology testing to achieve better healthcare. For more information please visit: http://www.rcpa.edu.au/Publications