As laboratory services are under increasing pressure to expand, is it best to stand alone or seek strength in numbers?
The countdown is on and the arguments are ramping up. It’s nearly decision day here in the UK (23 June marks the date of the EU referendum) and the pros and cons of a so-called “Brexit” are fiercely being debated. From those in the “stay” camp, Britain is apparently “stronger, safer and better off in Europe than we would be out on our own”. Certainly, the notion of strength in numbers is not a new one and it makes perfect sense. But then, doesn’t that argument only hold true when the numbers standing together are united and have shared goals? On pondering this, for some reason my mind drifted to military tactics. Perhaps it’s my Greek heritage that took those thoughts to the Spartan army, probably the most iconic in military history. They amassed victories against armies far greater in numbers than their own. And in addition to their tactical brilliance, physical strength, bravery and skill, their successes were highly dependent on three key factors: their unwavering focus on shared goals; a mutual respect for one another; and, most importantly of all, complete unity. Can EU member states with differing infrastructures, economies, cultures and goals ever form a unit that is strong enough to emerge victorious against the odds?
Though not on as big a scale, laboratory and pathology services are now facing a similar dilemma – stand together or go it alone? Why? Workloads are increasing. Substantially. Populations are aging, knowledge of the molecular basis of disease is expanding, pressures to instate or expand molecular diagnostic services are rising, the need for digitization and automation is becoming ever more pressing... And with all of this comes the necessity for continuous training and education – in a profession that is already overstretched and time-poor. So, the big question that most laboratories now face is: do we bring all capabilities in-house and retain complete control, or collaborate with complementary service providers for a turnkey solution? This is a really tough question to answer. It may be that your department’s financial status will force a decision on you. Either way, what’s arguably more difficult than the decision itself, is the pressure to make it work.
I hear many opinions from those who speak passionately of retaining full control of their diagnostics services versus others who believe in the power of partnership. And it’s clear that one size does not fit all. But we’re here to help. If you have a story to tell or an opinion that you would like to share on this issue, why don’t you unite with us and we’ll give your story a stage? Contact me here [email protected]
After graduating with a pharmacology degree, I began my career in scientific publishing and communications. Now with more than 16 years of experience in this field, my career has seen me heading up editorial and writing teams at Datamonitor, Advanstar and KnowledgePoint360 group. My past experiences have taught me something very important – that you have to enjoy working with, and have respect for your colleagues. It’s this that drew me to Texere where I now work with old colleagues and new. Though we are a hugely diverse team, we share several things in common – a real desire to work hard to succeed, to be the best at what we do, never to settle for second best, and to have fun while we do it. I am now honored to serve as Editor of The Pathologist and Editorial Director of Texere Publishing.