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What is 
Clinical Chemistry?

Clinical Chemistry is a subdiscipline in CLS that analyzes & measures "biochemical by-products" found in body fluids, like serum, plasma & urine, to help determine the health & function of organs to help diagnose & treat patients.

What are analytes &

Why do we measure them?

Analytes are biological solutes dissolved in the body. Measuring these analytes can indicate a diagnosis if they are too high or too low from normal reference.

Analytes include:

  • Iron

  • Enzymes

  • Glucose

  • Cholesterol

  • Bilirubin

  • etc (just to name a few)

Seeing a pattern of abnormal concentrations of analytes can help give a better picture of the patient's illness.

ClinChem Automation.jpg

Common Clinical Chemistry Panels Ordered:

  • Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) 

  • Electrolyte Panel

  • Lipid Panel

  • Liver Panel

  • Renal Panel

  • Thyroid function Panel

Automation in the Lab

There are a lot of instruments throughout CLS, but its the most prominent here in clinical chemistry. 

Since chemistry panels require a multitude of different of analytes to be tested on a single tube of blood simultaneously, automated instruments are required to fast track testing for short turn around time.

Because analytes are tested with different methodologies, different instruments can take up an entire room connected by "conveyor" tracks. These tracks help move one sample from one instrument to another without the hassle of manually moving it, especially in high volume labs.

If everything is automated?

Why do we need CLS?

Even though we use a lot of instruments, the lab can never be "fully automated".

Laboratorians have the education & training to do quality control (QC) and validation testing to "double check" every lab result an instrument puts out. 

CLS is responsible for each patient result. So they must closely record & monitor these QC results for quality assurance (QA). Without the "human touch", it can be hard for patients and physicians to have confidence in the lab. 


We are humans, not machines. So humans need to treat humans. But that doesn't mean we can't have help from technology.

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