What is clinical analysis? Definition and how to work in this field

Article written by CEMP's team

Do you know what clinical analysis is and what this activity is used for? If you’re interested in this field or, what’s more, if you’re thinking about becoming a professional in clinical analysis, this article is for you.


Clinical analysis: what is it and what is it for

First and foremost, we could say that clinical analysis is a type of exploratory test that involves the collection of biological samples from a patient and its examination at a laboratory to confirm or rule out a diagnosis, detect anomalies or obtain the necessary information to start a particular treatment or any other therapeutic proceeding. 

In fact, another common name for clinical analysis is “laboratory test”.

When it comes to sample typologies used for clinical analysis, we could cite blood, urine, fecal and tissue analysis, among others.

When taking an in-depth look at the goals or purpose of clinical analysis at a laboratory, the following should be mentioned:

  • Disease prevention thanks to early detection of anomalies. This is the case of ordinary clinical analysis, which are commonly executed at periodic health checks. These serve to confirm all parameters are within normal values or, on the contrary, to adopt corrective measures that avoid the development of potential pathologies. For instance, the periodic control of parameters such as cholesterol, glucose and many others can be used to adopt preventative measures to avoid future problems (for instance, the development of diabetes, cardiovascular pathologies, etc).
  • Confirmation or rejection of medical diagnosis. Asides from direct observation and other types of diagnostic tests, clinical analysis is an indispensable tool for confirming diagnosis in the field of medicine. Depending on the type of test, results might be expressed in a qualitative manner (positive or negative) or quantitative (according to an absolute figure or a level on a scale).
  • Clinical analysis can also perform a key role in the field of research. Thus, besides ordinary medical practices concerting tests and diagnosis, this type of test are normally used as part of clinical investigations for the development of new medicines or treatments, as well as the academic sector.


What should I study if I want to be a clinical analysis professional?

As you probably already know, the practice of clinical analysis involves two separate fields that shouldn’t be confused:

  • On the one hand, the execution of laboratory tests in a strict sense
  • On the other hand, the prescription of analysis and, above all, its interpretation (also, subsequently, the adoption of appropriate treatments).

The latter corresponds to medical staff. However, the material execution of the laboratory tests is undertaken by other professionals who are specialized in this area. These include laboratory technicians, laboratory assistants and other specialists in this same field. Depending on the type of laboratory, there will also be doctors, researches and other adequately qualified professionals.

As such, the variety of training options is significant. Leaving medical specializations aside, we can highlight the following types of courses:

  • Firstly, regarding specialist training in higher education in the UK, we should mention the Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science
  • Secondly, and also of note, is the possibility of joining a Master’s Degree in Clinical Analysis or a similar professional training course. The contents, characteristics and duration of these training options greatly differ depending on the type of course.


How do clinical analysis study programs work?

The specialist training in higher education includes a modular structure that typically taps into the following content blocks:

  • Management of biological samples
  • General laboratory techniques
  • Molecular and cytogenetic biology
  • General physiopathology
  • Biochemical analysis
  • Immunodiagnosis techniques
  • Clinical microbiology
  • Hematological analysis techniques
  • Clinical and biomedical laboratory projects
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Training at work spaces

In the case of Master’s degrees, posgraduate education and specialized courses, contents are very diverse depending on the approach and duration of each type of training. As an example, we can go through the basic structure of our Master’s in Clinical Analysis

In this case, it also involves a modular structure in which students are additionally offered the possibility of specialization in five different global fields: genetics, parasitology, biochemistry, microbiology and cytology. Thus, the master’s is divided in five main blocks:

Specialization in genetics

  1. DNA
  2. RNA
  3. Purification, quantification, separation of nucleic acids
  4. Genes and genome
  5. Chromosomes
  6. Study of chromosomes
  7. Cellular reproduction: mitosis and meiosis
  8. DNA replication and reparation
  9. Transcription
  10. Translation
  11. Control of genetic expression in prokaryotes
  12. Control of genetic expression in eukaryotes (I): transcriptional and RNA processing
  13. Control of genetic expression in eukaryotes (II): translational and post-translational
  14. Genomics complexity: epigenetics, imprint
  15. PCR
  16. Technology of recombinant DNA
  17. Sequencing
  18. Techniques for the hybridization of nucleic acids: Southern-blot, Northern-blog, MLPAs, microarrays
  19. Mutations and polymorphisms
  20. Extractions of tissue or cell samples for a genetic analysis
  21. Gene therapy
  22. Cancer
  23. Applications of fenetic techniques 

Parasitology specialization

  1. Basics of parasitology
  2. Classification of parasites, different life cycles
  3. Exposure of different techniques for general diagnosis
  4. Parasite immunology
  5. General treatment and prophylaxis
  6. Endoparasites
  7. Exoparasites
  8. Trematode infections and how they are diagnosed
  9. Cestodes
  10. Nematodes
  11. Exoparasites
  12. Different parasite eggs
  13. Most common parasitosis
  14. Emergent parasitosis
  15. Parasites related to marine products
  16. Theoretical design of how to design a PCR for parasite diagnosis
  17. Theoretical design of the coproparasithology method both direct and via flotation 
  18. Theoretical design of how to undertake a serologic test with a kit to stop parasites

Biochemistry specialization

  1. Hematology
  2. Biochemistry techniques
  3. Immunology techniques
  4. Genetic and molecular biology techniques

Microbiology specialization

  1. Team
  2. Bacteriology
  3. Virology
  4. Mycology
  5. Parasitology
  6. Waste management/treatment

Cytology specialization

  1. Sample types
  2. Processing of gynecological samples
  3. Sample collection

Prevention of occupational risks:

  1. Introduction
  2. Physical risks
  3. Chemical risks
  4. Biological and biosecurity risks

Now that you know what clinical analysis is and what the available training options are, you just need to find the right training and course to kick off your specialization in such an interesting field that is also a very in-demand job position.


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