Interest in EBM may be greater than ever as the financial challenges of the current practice environment continue to raise the stakes for all health care providers to optimize appropriate resource utilization. AACC’s EBM committee, chaired by Dr. Rob Christenson, has made a very significant impact on our field for many years as has NACB’s Education and Scientific Affairs Committee (ESAC), chaired by Dr. Shirley Welch. ESAC recently hit new highs in the level of their efforts to work with LMPG committees on several LMPGs that will continue to impact our profession for years to come.
Interest in EBM and LMPG development are not new priorities for AACC and NACB leaders who have made both top priorities for AACC and NACB activities and programs for a long time. However, NACB’s BOD recently recognized that ESAC’s role in the process of LMPG development was evolving. In late 2008, NACB’s BOD agreed to propose to AACC’s BOD that AACC’s EBM group and NACB’s ESAC be combined into a new group with a broader mission and new growth potential.
This formal proposal was made by then NACB President Steve Kahn to AACC’s BOD at their September 2009 meeting. He recommended that AACC’s EBM committee and NACB’s ESAC committee merge into a 2010 joint group organized and charged in a manner to be determined by the leaders of both groups. AACC’s BOD approved the request and the leaders of both groups agreed to appoint a new joint AACC/NACB Evidence-Based Laboratory Medicine Committee (EBLMC).
The 2010 EBLMC was jointly appointed by then AACC and NACB President-elects Catherine Hammett-Stabler and Robert Murray. Members—in part, coming from both EBM and ESAC—are Drs. Rex Astles, Jim Boyd, Rob Christenson (Vice-Chair), Bill Clarke, Steve Kahn (Chair), Susan Maynard, Chris Price and Shirley Welch The staff liaison is Dr. Vince Stine while Betsy Garman will serve as a staff consultant. EBLMC reports to AACC’s Program Coordinating Commission.
AACC and NACB leadership expects EBLMC to integrate the efforts of both organizations related to obtaining evidence-based assessment as well as in promoting evidence-based research and its application to the practice of laboratory medicine. EBLMC’s functions should evolve over time in response to the needs of both AACC and NACB. Selected expectations for EBLMC currently are to:
- Serve as a resource to the AACC and NACB membership and leadership through the provision of education, identification of issues pertinent to both, and responding to requests related to evidence‐based medicine;
- Continue guiding the LMPG development process although likely at an earlier stage than ESAC.
- Act on topics for development proposed by NACB for vetting although EBLMC may also actively recommend relevant topics back to NACB leadership such as a laboratory-related topic of interest to, e.g., the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ);
- EBLMC was recently asked for comment by AHRQ regarding their consideration of whether to move forward concerning a systematic review on serum free light chains;
- 3 AACC proposals recently accepted by AHRQ for work by expert panels on systematic reviews focus on use of biomarkers in sepsis, POCT Hb A1c, and natriuretic peptides;
- Develop new approaches to guiding evidence-based assessment such as conducting initial literature searches or drafting narrative reviews before deciding on the appropriateness and strength of a particular topic;
- Work with NACB leaders to provide committees and staff support for desired topics of interest while also considering the creation or development of other products and deliverables such as position statements, laboratory medicine best practices, and other programs if appropriate.
The 2010 EBLMC represents a new milestone for AACC and NACB collaboration. It will serve as an internal point of contact for developing, coordinating and promoting EBLM activities. EBLMC is also expected to be a resource to other external groups as needed. Those interested in providing further input to this group are encouraged to contact Drs. Kahn, Christenson, and/or Stine.