As a “mature” member of this profession, I have moved on from the question “What do you want to do with your life?” to “What do you do?” I imagine in the near future the question will change to “What did you do?” In fact, I ask that question of myself at this very moment while writing this blog. Thankfully these questions are intertwined. By examining the progress made by the Academy, it helps to define what we are and what we do.
The Academy is at a point where it needs to produce Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines (LMPGs) and White Papers (the blogs are doing quite well thanks to Patti Jones) to help define what our profession is all about. Of course this is only part of what we do in our profession, but it certainly defines how we can interface with our clinical colleagues. As recently pointed out in CCJ, the Academy has room for improvement as regards the process of creating LMPGs. I am happy to tell you, thanks to Steve Kahn and the EBLMC, that we were already well aware of the need to improve our guideline process and are in the final stages of a revision of our standard operating procedures (SOP) for LMPGs. With the new SOP, the upcoming LMPGs should be more useful and impactful.
The Academy has also initiated a new product called “White Papers.” What are White Papers? In a nutshell, I like to describe it as an up to date library on clinical laboratory subjects written by clinical laboratorians. It will minimally include any relevant evidence based literature, as well as a description of the pros and cons of a specific topic. At this point, the subject of a white paper is flexible, however I expect as this product matures it will become better defined. The SOP, thanks to Ron Whitley, has been created and soon our first paper should become available. The White Papers along with the LMPGs have great potential to help demonstrate part of what we do in our profession. If you have a suggestion or are willing to participate, please contact me.
The Academy needs to continue to work hard at developing and improving itself. It cannot be done, however, without the dedication of many professionals who give their time freely to make this happen. I know there is still much work to be done and I am confident that the incoming president, Mike Bennett, followed by Patti Jones, will be excellent stewards of the Academy.