April 2013 Clinical Laboratory News: Volume 39, Number 4

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The Race to Reduce Readmissions
Can Lab Tests Help Predict Who Will Return to the Hospital?
By Bill Malone

Medicare is now dealing painful cuts to hospitals across the country as punishment for too many readmissions. Predicting readmission risk with lab tests is emerging as one solution, with biomarkers like natriuretic peptides, galectin-3, and ST2 showing promise in predicting readmissions and mortality for heart failure and acute myocardial infarction—two conditions related to large numbers of readmissions.   

The 50-Hour Genome
What Does This Technical Feat Spell for Clinical Laboratories?
By Genna Rollins

Even as the cost of whole genome sequencing has dropped dramatically and its speed increased exponentially, this revolutionary technology has had limited clinical use because of challenges analyzing the huge volume of data it produces. Researchers recently reported using this sequencing technology on newborns to provide a provisional diagnosis of genetic disorders in as little as 50 hours, rather than the normal 4–6 weeks.


Cardiac Troponin
Clinical Considerations for High-Sensitivity Assays
By Sabu Thomas, MD, FACC, FRCPC, Peter Kavsak, PhD, FCACB, FACB, and P.J. Devereaux, MD, PhD, FRCPC

A new wave of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin assays may help identify patients who are still at risk for heart disease in spite of cTn elevations that are considered normal. Laboratorians will need to learn the characteristics of these powerful assays, as well as their limitations, in order to help clinicians best employ them.

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Full List of Cardiac Troponin Article References


CDC Warns of Drug-Resistant Bacteria


AACC Welcomes New CEO Janet Kreizman
By Nancy Sasavage, PhD

Janet Kreizman took the helm as AACC’s Chief Executive Officer on April 1 to advance the association’s mission of providing global leadership in clinical laboratory science and medicine.

NIH Panel Supports Status Quo for Gestational Diabetes Testing
Recommendation at Odds With Other Groups
By Genna Rollins

A National Institutes of Health panel recommended keeping the current two-step test for gestational diabetes. Other health groups have endorsed a one-step approach, but the panel believes more evidence is needed to prove this new strategy improves patient outcomes.


Using Unofficial Lab Reports
Words of Caution on the CMS Meaningful Use Standards
By Corinne R. Fantz, PhD, DABCC, FACB

Although there are no formal requirements for laboratory results outside of what is required for official laboratory reports by CLIA and the College of American Pathologists, healthcare entities and laboratories should use care in how laboratory data are displayed in electronic health records. In this interview, Thomas Williams, MD, and Alexis Carter, MD, provide tips on how to protect patients from errors that may result from using poorly designed unofficial laboratory reports.

A New Model for Patient Safety
Daily Laboratory Huddles—What a GREAT Idea!
By Michael Astion, MD, PhD

More hospitals are turning to an escalating system of daily huddles to raise awareness of patient safety. In the laboratory, daily huddles not only provide a venue for key lab members and others to report concerns, but they also allow appropriate actions to be implemented quickly.

Mitigating Patient Risk During IT Outages
Seven Tips to Ensure Your Laboratory Is Ready
By Nikola Baumann, PhD

During IT outages, laboratories can ensure patient safety by implementing robust backup plans and comprehensive standard operating procedures that maintain critical operating procedures at near optimal levels.


Regulatory Profiles
Industry Profiles
Diagnostic Profiles
News From the FDA

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