American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
Setting the Agenda for Learning

 
Special Edition

Setting the Agenda for Learning
AACC’s Educational Programs Offer Professional Development
By Kia Reid

AACC’s Annual Meeting is a must-attend event with numerous opportunities for enhancing your knowledge, networking with colleagues, and seeing all the newest products for clinical labs. But when the meeting is over and summer has finally come to an end, what’s next? This fall season, and into the winter, AACC is offering some exciting educational conferences and programs for your professional development and continuing education needs. We are presenting a wide variety of meetings, audioconferences, and online conferences that will expand your knowledge of the newest innovations and hottest topics in the field of clinical chemistry.

Whatever your role in laboratory medicine, you’ll find that our programs keep you in front of the changes that affect everyone involved in developing, performing, analyzing, ordering, and using laboratory tests. Here’s a preview of what we have planned.

Autoverification Maximizes Efficiency

Back by popular demand, we will again offer an audioconference on autoverification—the postanalytical tool that allows the user to check test results against reference ranges, moving averages, instrument flagging, delta checks, clinician information, and requests and critical limits to name a few. Last year’s popular audioconference on this topic provided information on the assessment of laboratory test results based on criteria established in the lab. It showed how results are analyzed in real time with automatic release of unremarkable data, while unusual items are sent to a technologist along with a clear statement describing the problem and the lab policy for resolution. Our conference faculty examined autoverification applications in both the chemistry and hematology lab sections. If you missed this audioconference, the CD is available for purchase at the AACC Bookstore or online at the AACC Web site.

Due to the overwhelming interest in autoverification, this fall’s audioconference, “Autoverification in the Clinical Laboratory,” will deal with using autovarification as a tool to maximize efficiency and alleviate some of the financial pressures on the clinical laboratory and operations. Clinical labs are under intense pressure to increase productivity and quality while keeping costs to a minimum. With this program, the AACC continues its commitment to arming our clinical laboratorians and scientists with the information needed to improve autoverification in their labs. Check the AACC Web site for the date and time of this audioconference.

More on the Evolving Field of Proteomics

In 2006, “Clinical Proteomics: Opportunities for Diagnostics, Pharmaceuticals, and the Clinical Laboratory,” AACC’s second program in this emerging field gathered leading researchers, regulators, lab professionals, and industry representatives in Baltimore, Md. to discuss the role of proteomic-based diagnostics in the modern healthcare system. The program featured discussions of cancer and non-cancer applications of clinical proteomics, biomarker discovery, co-development of therapeutic compounds and proteomic assays, FDA’s view of proteomic technologies, and developments in standardization. This event was supported by Becton Dickinson (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) and Ciphergen (Fremont, Calif.).

Based on all of the positive attendee comments on the 2006 conference, the AACC is pleased to offer the third installment of a series on proteomics. “Translating Proteomic Discoveries into Clinical Diagnostics” will be held on May 9–10, 2008, in Seattle, Wash. This two-day conference will focus on several topics, including affinity-based proteomics, bioinformatics in proteomic diagnostics, and the regulation of proteomic devices. Look for more exciting topics in this program in the coming months on www.aacc.org, as we finalize the conference program.

Lab Automation Solutions

The eighth annual presentation of AACC’s U.S.-based lab automation conference, “Laboratory Automation: Achieving Excellence in Clinical Testing” drew 170 participants to St. Louis, Mo., in November 2006. Medical professionals looking for the latest information on automated lab testing took advantage of educational lectures, roundtable discussions, and breakout sessions with leading manufacturers. The program was supported by A&T Corporation (Kanagawa, Japan), Abbott Diagnostics (Abbott Park, Ill.), Bayer HealthCare (Tarrytown, N.Y.), Beckman Coulter (Brea, Calif.), Dade Behring (Deerfield, Ill.), Olympus America (Center Valley, Penn.), Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics (Raritan, N.J.), and Roche Diagnostics (Indianapolis, Ind.).This year we’re pleased to continue the lab automation conference series in the U.S. by presenting the ninth installment of this program. “Laboratory Automation: Frontiers in the Next Generation Systems” will be held on October 26–26, 2007, in Atlanta, Ga. You will hear talks on lab information system connectivity, product evaluation and vendor selection for laboratories new to automation, and what’s new on the horizon for the future of laboratory automation. After this conference, you will be able to help your lab find the right solutions for its automation needs.

For European colleagues, the “Amsterdam Laboratory Automation” meeting will be held March 13–14, 2008. AACC is once again joined by the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and The Dutch Society for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine in organizing this popular conference. The conference will take place at the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky located in the heart of Amsterdam’s historic center and a short walk from the Amsterdam Central Station. Program details will be available on AACC’s Web site later this year.

Early Cancer Detection

AACC will be hosting a new program titled “Making the Case for New Cancer Detection Technologies” on November 2, 2007, in St. Louis, Mo. Detecting cancer early is key to extending patients’ survival rates and curing them of the disease, and it requires cutting-edge and innovative technology. Since most types of cancer have a genetic component, cancer assays increasingly rely on genetic, molecular, proteomic and other related techniques to detect the disease. This program will feature talks on gene expression assays that will likely change the way breast cancer is detected, a panel of protein markers that shows promise for detecting ovarian cancer in its earliest and most curable stage, and efforts to standardize the use of these new technologies. Check AACC’s Web site for the complete program.

A Look at the Future of Diagnostics

In October, Fred Apple, PhD from Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minn., will moderate an audioconference sponsored by Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics (Tarrytown, N.Y.) that examines how information from imaging techniques is being combined with the results of cardiac biomarkers to improve the care of cardiac patients. Look for a brochure on this important audioconference at the AACC booth or go to www.aacc.org for more information.

Learn Online for Free

Along with AACC’s face-to-face meetings, audioconferences, and other educational programs, you can take advantage of our Expert Access Live Online. Expert Access is a real-time, Internet-based program that brings leading lab experts right to your desktop. The program is supported in part by an education grant from Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics, which keeps the program free to interested medical professionals.

Participants can view course materials and submit questions prior to the scheduled 1-hour discussion or during the live portion of the event. So far this year, the Expert Access program has highlighted a wide variety of topics including criteria for selecting laboratory automation and instrumentation, emergent viral diseases, patient identification and risk management, pharmacogenomics and algorithms for warfarin therapy, and nutritional genomic testing. Don’t forget to join our experts in the coming months for more information on other timely topics.

Keep Earning Credit

Most conferences, educational programs, and meetings sponsored by the AACC are available for continuing education credit. AACC offers two types of continuing education credit for its educational programs. The first is ACCENT® credit, which is for laboratory professionals who need to document their continuing education to meet requirements for licensure or certification. ACCENT credit is accepted by the American Association of Bioanalysts, American Society of Microbiology, National Registry in Clinical Chemistry, and the National Certification Agency for Medical Laboratory Personnel, to name a few.

The second type of continuing education credit that AACC offers is Continuing Medical Education (CME). AACC is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education to sponsor continuing medical education for physicians. CME credit is offered for selected programs sponsored by AACC.

Along with the continuing education credits received from attending one of our educational programs, AACC also supports credentialing of clinical laboratory practitioners through certification, licensure, and registration. The Professional Certification Boards in Laboratory Medicine and other resources are provided for laboratory professionals interested in professional certification. For a complete listing of all of the organizations and states that accept ACCENT and CME credits and for certification boards, please visit our Web site.

Our Commitment to You

AACC is committed to the ongoing education of the international scientific/medical community of clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and other individuals involved with clinical chemistry and clinical laboratory science disciplines. We look forward to offering more educational programs to the lab community and welcome your suggestions for topics.

Kia Reid is Professional Affairs Coordinator at AACC.

How to Purchase Conference Materials

If you are unable to attend any of our meetings or audioconferences, you can purchase our conference manuals or audioconference CDs from the AACC bookstore or on the AACC Web site. The manuals and CDs come complete with presentations, speaker information, and other valuable resources.