October 2009 Clinical Laboratory News: Volume 35, Number 10

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The Pursuit of Traceability
Lab Groups Push for Greater Harmonization

By Bill Malone


Laboratorians have worked for decades to try and connect lab tests to universal, coherent standards of accuracy. Now new requirements for manufacturers in Europe have begun to push the U.S. lab community to work together more closely to develop internationally recognized standards materials and methods that will reduce variability and method specificity.

New Paradigms in Fetal Lung Maturity Testing
What Are the Options for Labs?
By Genna Rollins


The potential discontinuation of a well-known fetal lung maturity test makes now a good time for laboratorians and clinicians to review available tests and consider new testing options.


Hemoglobinopathies and Thalassemias
The ABCs of Lab Evaluation
By Shirley L. Welch, PhD


Genetic mutations to hemoglobin proteins can result in either hemoglobinopathies or thalassemias, both of which can cause anemia, morbidity, and mortality. With hundreds of chain variants and gene mutations already identified that can affect globin chains, laboratory testing is growing in importance to help identify these two disorders.


Pharma Not Sold on Companion Diagnostics


Another Successful Annual Meeting and Expo in Chicago

Experts Review Advances in Celiac Disease Diagnostics
Evolving Testing Methods, Algorithms Ensure Labs’ Central Role in Diagnosis, Treatment
By Genna Rollins


Labs have transformed the diagnostic workup of celiac disease, but testing algorithms and technologies are in flux.

Challenges and Controversies in Anti-Nuclear Antibody Testing
Are Multiplex Assays the New Gold Standard?
By Genna Rollins


New methods have emerged for testing anti-nuclear antibodies, requiring labs to be well acquainted with those methods and to educate physicians about the limitations of the various assays in diagnosing systemic autoimmune diseases.

From the Podium
Highlights from this year’s plenary speakers.


Using Interviews and Videotaping to Fuel Quality Improvement
An Interview with Stephen Raab, MD
By Michael Astion, MD, PhD


Videotaping staff performing work tasks can be an efficient method of uncovering lab processes that can fuel quality improvement and increase worker satisfaction.

How to Modify Staff Behavior That Puts Patients At Risk
The Just Culture Model
By James Hernandez, MD, MS


The Just Culture model divides employee errors into three different categories of accountability, giving lab directors a convenient tool to take appropriate action when needed.

Found in the Literature
Failure to Report Lab Test Results to Outpatients
Summary and Commentary by Michael Astion, MD, PhD


A recent paper in Archives of Internal Medicine reported that 7.1% of patients were not properly informed of abnormal test results. Learn what steps laboratorians can take to ensure that patients are informed.

Letter to the Editor
Improving Quality by Connecting Laboratory Staff to Patient Care
By Kim Skala, MT (ASCP)


A lab coordinator shares her hospital’s successful outcomes when lab staff took the steps to become more directly connected to patient care.

Medical Errors and the Way Doctors Think
By Michael Astion, MD, PhD


Jerome Groopman’s, MD, plenary talk at the AACC/CSCC Annual Meeting presented some fascinating insights as to how physicians fall into thinking traps when making an erroneous diagnosis.


Regulatory Profiles

Industry Profiles

Diagnostic Profiles

News from the FDA

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Next Month

New Ideas for Fixing the Workforce Shortage


Microcytic Anemia Workup: Iron Deficiency or Concomitant Disease?