American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
July 2010 Clinical Laboratory News: Volume 36, Number 7

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COVER STORIES

Radio Frequency Identification of Specimens
Can it Solve Labs' Preanalytical Predicament?
By Bill Malone

 

Today, RFID technology has advanced to the point that tracking lab samples is feasible but costly. Now cutting-edge companies and the labs working with them say this will soon be a thing of the past. In the same way that computer processor chips have become simultaneously smaller and more powerful, RFID tags can now be manufactured as tiny as 2 mm x 2 mm and thin enough to be sandwiched into disposable, standard labels for blood and tissue specimens or even embedded within the blood tube.

The Diagnostic Dilemma of Ovarian Cancer
What’s  the Answer?
By Genna Rollins

 

Researchers are actively investigating diagnostic biomarkers for ovarian cancer, but so far no serum or imaging markers have proven to be sufficiently sensitive or specific. How close are researchers to achieving a breakthrough for this ‘silent killer’?

SERIES ARTICLES

Clostridium difficile
Navigating the Testing Options for Diagnosis
By Glen Hansen, PhD, Stephen Blatt, MD, Stephen M. Brecher, PhD, Erik Dubberke, MD, and Preston Dorsett, PhD

 

The severity and frequency of Clostridium difficile infections, a major cause of healthcare- associated infections, has significantly increased since the early 2000s. Because various pathogens can cause diarrhea and other symptoms of enteric disease, diagnosis of C. difficile infections requires appropriate laboratory testing, as well as clinical insight. While an array of tests is available to detect C. difficile infections, no single test has proven to successfully meet the needs of all patients, laboratories, and hospitals.

NEWS BRIEF

Illegal Drug Use Widespread Among Adolescents

INSIDE

Are Diagnostic Method Claims Patentable?
New Rulings Raise Old Questions
By Laurie A. Axford, Esq

 

U.S. patent laws are intended to prevent overarching monopolies and enable technological advancements.  However, when it comes to biological substances and processes, what should be patentable? Diagnostic methods are typically considered patentable processes, but their ultimate patentability depends on other factors that are not clearly defined in patent law.

PATIENT SAFETY FOCUS

How Labs Can Protect Against Specimen Loss

 

Sky Soom, director of logistics and specimen lifecycle for Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories, Spokane, Wash., tackles the idea that humans are the most common agents of specimen loss in clinical labs. Soom examines concepts in protecting against specimen loss, as well as offering some strategies for clinical labs.  

Collected Wisdom on Patient Safety 

 

Leadership, communications, and work environment are just some of the key elements that contribute to patient safety. The editors of Patient Safety Focus share their favorite quotes on patient safety collected from more than 25 interviews.

Alert Fatigue
When Too Many Alerts Lose Physicians' Attention
By Karen Appold

 

Alert fatigue is a new problem that is growing. As more medical institutions employ electronic health records that contain clinical decision support systems, alert fatigue could lessen the gains expected from these tools.

Playing it Safe by Having 'Defense in Depth' in Place
By Karen Appold and Michael Astion, MD

 

The principle of defense in depth can be defined as layered security mechanisms designed to increase security of the system as a whole. See how this model can also be applied to processing specimens in clinical labs.

Quality Goals vs. Thresholds
What Should Labs Tell Customers?
By Peggy Ahlin

 

A lab’s goal is to always strive for perfection. Marketing your threshold for quality monitoring, as opposed to your performance goal can be confusing to customers.  

2010 ANNUAL MEETING PREVIEW

New Product Review

 

This special advertising section contains new products that will make their debut at the 2010 Clinical Lab Expo in Anaheim, Calif.

PROFILES

Regulatory Profiles 

Industry Profiles

Diagnostic Profiles

News from the FDA


Next Month

Compliance for the Lab

Testosterone Assay Challenges