Profiles of technical experts working in medical laboratories
In the Belgian health care system, the people in medical laboratories are certified as medical laboratory technologists, pathologists, clinical biologists or clinical geneticists. During the last few decades, the complexity of laboratory analyses has increased rapidly, leading to the introduction of several technical experts in these laboratories. These include experts in molecular biology, genetics, bioinformatics, flow cytometry, in vitro fertilization, mass spectrometry, … Currently, these highly-trained experts are working in legal limbo as they do not fit the profile or perform the functions of medical laboratory technologists, pathologists, clinical biologists or clinical geneticists and as such have no official recognition for their profile. However, they also perform essential functions in these laboratories, require access to patient data to perform their work, and their decisions have direct and indirect effects on the patient’s test results.

Two scientific societies in the field of molecular diagnostics [MolecularDiagnostics.be and the Belgian Society for Human Genetics (BeSHG)] are starting a new initiative to group all technical experts to help the legislator in providing a legal framework for these technical experts. Although there is a lot of diversity in this group, we believe there are enough shared characteristics, e.g. a university degree in a (life) science (often a PhD) and, as no specific education program exists for this specific job, the need for an extensive on-the-job training period. Further refinement will be needed, but this will be discussed once we have a better overview of the different profiles and a more representative working group is established.

We would like to ask everybody active in a medical laboratory as a technical expert to register their profile using this form: https://forms.gle/mjDMUDoJFawbMinx5. This should only take 5-10 minutes of your time. You will receive an automatic mail with your responses.

The deadline for registering your profile has passed, but in case you only heard of this survey recently (or forgot the deadline), feel free to enter your profile. Your data will not be taken up into the analysis, but registering will make sure that you stay up to date of any advances made in this field, as we will use this mailing list to communicate further.

If you have questions or remarks, feel free to contact us at TechLabExp@gmail.com or add these in the last field of the survey.

Working group:
MolecularDiagnostics.be: Elke Boone (AZ Delta Roeselare), Friedel Nollet (AZ Sint-Jan Brugge), Karl Vandepoele (UZ Gent) - Belgian Society for Human Genetics: Valérie Benoit (IPG Gosselies), Kathleen Claes (UZ Gent), Alexander Gheldof (UZ Brussel), Cécile Libioulle (CHU Liège), Gert Matthijs (UZ Leuven), Sonia Van Dooren (UZ Brussel), Wim Wuyts (UZ Antwerpen)
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