Contact: Peter Patterson
(202) 835-8718
800-892-1400 ext. 1718
Email: ppatterson@aacc.org

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Washington, DC, October 13, 2011   The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) announces two new webinars for December 2011: A New Era in Down Syndrome Screening on December 7; and Optimizing Clinical Laboratory Test Utilization on December 14. The webinars will commence at 2:00pm Eastern and run for  90 and 60 minutes respectively.

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder occurring in approximately 1 of 800 live births and is the leading cause of cognitive impairment.  Screening for the condition is performed at 15 to 17 weeks gestation with the prenatal Down syndrome triple screen. This combination of biochemical assays can detect ~65% of DS-affected pregnancies at a 5% false-positive rate although today the medical community believes better results can be achieved using new testing algorithms, new technologies, and earlier screening. AACC’s expert panel for the webinar, Mark I. Evans, MD, Director, Comprehensive Genetics (New York, NY) and Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and Nathalie Lepage, PhD, FCACB, Chief, Division of Biochemistry and Head of the Biochemical Genetics Laboratory, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Canada, will discuss the latest medical thinking on the role of screening in the diagnosis of Down Syndrome. 

There are a variety of reasons for test overutilization, including misunderstanding the diagnostic value of the test itself, patient pressure and test bundling. An AACC expert will provide information on how to identify areas in need of management and strategies to optimize test utilization. Michael Astion, MD, PhD, Division Chief, Laboratory Medicine, Seattle Children's Hospital and Professor of Laboratory Medicine, University of Washington, in Seattle, WA, and a leading authority on test utilization, will discuss the root causes of overutilization and how the laboratory can identify them, where labs should intervene for effective results, strategies that work to reduce overutilization, and why insurance companies are expanding their oversight of unnecessary testing and reducing payments. A reduction in inappropriate laboratory testing is a goal worth pursuing not only for financial reasons, but also to improve patient care by avoiding unnecessary testing and patient anxiety

AACC is pleased to invite journalists to attend these important and timely webinars. To register, complete and submit a Press Registration Form.  For more information about either webinar or AACC, contact Peter Patterson or on either of the above phone numbers.

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AACC is a leading professional society dedicated to improving healthcare through laboratory medicine. Its over 9,000 members are clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and others involved in developing tests and directing laboratory operations. AACC brings this community together with programs that advance knowledge, expertise, and innovation.