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.