Department of Laboratory Medicine
Laboratory Medicine is one of the newer departments of AIIMS created as a holistic discipline for diagnostic laboratory sciences. It was created by bringing together three independent hospital service laboratories of AIIMS namely Clinical Pathology, Clinical Hematology and Clinical Biochemistry, to which Clinical Microbiology was added later and a full-fledged Academic Department was started in 1988 (For Evolutionary history: Photo link). Since then, this department has shouldered the responsibility to provide laboratory diagnostic support to the whole of AIIMS. It has a beginning. But sky is its limit.
Presently, the department engages the services of followingpersonnel, who include seven Faculty members in the main dept, one Biochemist (Scientist grade III), twenty residents (11SRs, 9JRs), and 108 technical, office, and store staff with attendants.
Service to Patients:
Dept of Lab Medicine caters to AIIMS Hospital and some of its Centers, responding to the laboratory investigationrequisitions from around 1000-1500 patients from OPDsand Wards to perform about 10-15,000 investigations per dayamounting to about 90 lacs (9 millions) investigations in a year. The investigations range from routinebiochemistry, hemogram or serology to those requiring specialized molecular techniques (PCR, NASBA etc.).The Dept. is involved in Test selection (Pre‑test counselling), Test performance and Test interpretation (Post‑testcounselling) in the area of clinical chemistry, clinical pathology, clinical haematology, and clinical microbiologyhaving respective faculty member in charge of their specialized area.
The department is linked with various National and International Quality Assurance Programs. Internally, theprecision of the investigations has been achieved by extensive automation and internal quality assurance. Theaccuracy of the results is maintained by regular calibration of the instrument with appropriate standards.
Service to Students (Education):
The department runs a three‑year residency Program leading to MD degree in Laboratory Medicine. This is one of the examples of “Make-in-India”initiative started long back in 1997. It also runs Ph.D. program. FacultiesandScientists are involved in undergraduate and postgraduate lectures, seminars, tutorials/case discussion and journalclubs. Laboratory Medicine also offers structured training to Post graduates from Pathology and Biochemistry Departments of AIIMS. The department is also involved in teaching of BSc (Hons) Nursing course and summer training programs for MBBS students. Inaddition, the department provides training to doctors as well as to technical staff from various Universities and hospitals both from India and abroad.
The Department also regularly conducts International and National Workshops, CME, Seminars andConferences.
Service to Science (Research and Publications):
The Faculty of the Department attracts funds from various national and international funding agencies and runs several extra-mural and intra-mural projects.The thrust areas for research in the department are to develop biomarkers and genetic predictors for diagnosis and prognosis of patients with Neurodegenerative diseases, Infectious disease like Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, Toxoplasmosis, Leishmaniasis, Infections in immune-compromised hosts and also non-communicable diseases like metabolic disease and cancers. The department is also actively pursuing collaboration with other departments to develop newer diagnostics and devices. The open holistic academic culture of the department has promoted ideation and hypothesis generation in the realm of brain, mind and consciousness functionality.
Looking at the rapid strides and expansion in Laboratory Disciplines in Medical Sciences it may not be far when MD in Laboratory Medicine would constitute to be a basic postgraduate degree in Laboratory Sciences producing a holistic laboratory physician, a poly-disciplinary MD, who could dynamically work in a Central Hospital Laboratory of any hospital together with the Treating clinicians to facilitate rapid and accurate diagnosis by participating in Test selection, Test Operation and Test interpretation. Looking at space-economy, time-economy, manpower economy, knowledge economy, budget economy, a basic postgraduate in laboratory science, who can manage the central laboratory of a hospital attached to a medical college is the need of the hour for the Nation(See“Editorial” in Journal of Laboratory Medicine).