International Conference on Laboratory Medicine: celebrating 25 years
The celebration of the 25th edition of the International Conference on Laboratory Medicine offers us the opportunity to review the story of the meeting that was dedicated to the memory of Angelo Burlina, the scientist who recognized the need to identify the discipline with the name of “laboratory medicine”. The several editions of the conference have been dedicated to emerging topics in the field of laboratory testing, thus highlighting the monumental advances and changes in clinical laboratory practice. The “core principle” of all conferences was the search for better quality in laboratory medicine. that should be achieved by promoting development of programs and processes inside and outside the laboratory itself. In particular, the discovery that pre- and post-analytical phases are more vulnerable to errors than intra-analytical processes led us to promote the vision of laboratory testing as described by Lundberg, in the seminal concept of the “brain-to-brain loop”, and focusing on the ultimate goal that is an action on the patient to improve the diagnostic and therapeutic process, along with major emphasis on the emerging role of laboratory medicine in identifying risk factors, disease prevention and personalized medicine. The vision of the testing process as a continuum, led us to promote a project on quality indicators covering all steps of the testing process, thus including pre-pre and post-post-analytical steps, and for identifying performance specification which should create a culture of, monitor, and continuously improve, quality. In particular, we have highlighted the need to assure and improve patient safety as laboratory tests increasingly impact both clinical decision-making and patient outcomes.