Medical Laboratory Technology also called Clinical laboratory science is an allied health profession which is concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease through the use of clinical laboratory tests. These tests help doctors to detect, diagnose and treat diseases. A Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT) do these tests by analyzing body fluids, tissues, blood typing, microorganism screening, chemical analyses, cell counts of human body etc.
Medical technologists work in five major areas of the laboratory ie, in Blood banking, Clinical Chemistry (chemical analysis of body fluids), Hematology (blood related), Immunology (study of immune system) and Microbiology (study of bacteria and other disease organisms). They also work in the areas of cytotechnology (study of human tissue), phlebotomy, urinalysis, coagulation, parasitology and serology. Phlebotomists draw and test blood where as Blood bank technologists determine correct blood types for transfusions. Histology technicians cut and stain tissue samples.
Medical technologists have more training and job responsibilities. They perform complex tests such as microscopic examinations of tissues, blood and other body fluids to detect evidence of disease and detect the presence of bacteria, fungi, parasites etc and chemical tests to determine blood cholesterol levels. They also match blood samples for transfusions and test drug levels in blood to determine how patients are responding to medications. They are often responsible for making sure that testing is done accurately. In some labs, technologists conduct research under the supervision of medical researchers.
Medical technicians do routine laboratory testing manually according to instructions. They work under Technologists or supervisors. Technicians may prepare specimens and operate machines that automatically analyze samples. In addition to running tests, technicians set up, clean, and maintain laboratory equipment, such as centrifuges, microscopes etc. They also prepare standard solutions for use in the lab. This involves measuring and mixing the correct amount of various chemicals.
Some of the courses offered in Lab Technology are Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Technology (BMLT), Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology (DMLT). BMLT course for Medical Lab Technologists is structured to train students in the clinical Laboratory analysis of blood, urine, feces, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, ascetic fluid etc to aid the doctors in arriving at a correct diagnosis and treatment of the disease. There are also Diploma / Certificate courses for lab technicians / assistants in general and in different specialties such as Diplomas in EEG Lab Technician, Histopathology Lab Technician etc.