Carol AndrewsThe end of the year is often a time of reflection and planning for the future, so it seemed appropriate this month for CLP to initiate a discussion on the state of the clinical lab industry and where we’re headed. We’ve come a long way from the earliest clinical laboratories established in the last half of the 19th century to the high-tech labs of today. CLP’s year-end wrap-up and industry roundtable, which begins on page 10, identifies several trends in the clinical lab industry, including increased automation and more point-of-care and genetic testing. Industry experts tell us that the “doing more with less” philosophy, rising costs, fewer resources, and the laboratory labor shortage will follow us into 2005.

Sources also tell us that it will be a challenge for lab professionals to keep up with all of the new tests on the market. CLP will continue to be your best source of information on these issues and more. It is also important to effectively manage data as labs begin automating all processes. Some believe that innovation in the industry will be less around systems and more around data management. Several sources tell us that the implementation of productivity and quality improvement tools will help lower costs by reducing waste and errors. Others tell us that consolidation in the industry will create fewer labs with increased efficiency and volume. They predict that workstations will consolidate as labs utilize fewer analyzers with larger menus and onboard capacity.

This issue of CLP also marks the first time that we’ve published our annual Buyer’s Guide within the pages of the magazine. This guide, which begins on page 19, provides essential information on products and services for the clinical laboratory. You can locate what you need in two ways. The Products and Services Index lists suppliers under the category of product the company offers. Or check out our Company Profiles section, an alphabetical listing of the companies that provide the products and services you may be looking for.

Also new this year, the Buyer’s Guide profiles some of the most innovative products for the clinical laboratory. The Product Showcase section begins on page 40. We know that this issue will be a useful resource for you in the months to come.

Happy Holidays. See you next year!

Carol Andrews
[email protected]