If we define pathology as the application of all laboratory sciences to the study of disease, then we may expect that the growth of pathology will parallel that of modern technology. This is reflected in hospital laboratory work unit totals, which have increased from 10% to 25% per year during the past decade; in some settings doubling times have been as short as three or four years.1 These marked increases in productivity are now easing in many sectors as utilization review, cost-containment, antiinflation efforts, and the "politics of lowered expectation" take their measure.
Because of levels of activity, it seems appropriate to divide the times in pathology into political-economic, scientific-medical, and litigation statements, followed by a glimpse of the near future.
Politics, Money, and Management
In the past several months, pathologists have spoken out openly regarding hospital budgeting methods that have used some ancillary services (ie, the hospital laboratory)