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Mapping the current state of the medical specialties in laboratory medicine in Italy
  1. Alvise Schiavinato1,2
  1. 1 Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Laboratory Medicine, University Hospital of Udine, Udine, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alvise Schiavinato, Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University of Cologne, Koln 50923, Germany; aschiav1{at}


Laboratory medicine is the single highest volume medical activity and it plays an increasingly essential role in the modern healthcare systems. In vitro diagnostic tests are now used in virtually every aspect of the patient care, including disease prevention, diagnosis, disease monitoring as well as personalised medicine. Nevertheless, the profession of laboratory medicine differs between countries in many respects, such as specialist training (medical or scientific), fields of interest, responsibilities and professional organisation. Many attempts have been made to quantify the role of laboratory medicine in patient outcomes, but the precise figures are still not clear. Moreover, the relative contribution of medical specialists in laboratory medicine is not well known and somehow controversial. To start exploring these aspects, we studied the current state of the two medical specialties that make up the majority of laboratory medicine in Italy: clinical pathology and medical microbiology. Our analysis revealed that both specialties suffer from a low attractivity among postgraduate physicians, and suggest that a restructuring of the training programme and professional reorganisation should be considered.

  • Education, Medical
  • Chemistry, Clinical

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  • Handling editor Runjan Chetty.

  • Contributors AS collected, analysed the data and wrote the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft through project ID 384170921: FOR2722/B1.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.