While attending my first AACC Annual Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo this past July in Houston, I was struck by the energy of the event. It was undoubtedly an enthusiastic gathering of the best and brightest people, ideas, and technologies in our industry. Attendees and exhibitors consistently shared with me positive comments about the excellent educational programming, the depth and breadth of the Expo, and the myriad opportunities to network with colleagues and global leaders in the field. This certainly was one of the highlights of my 6-month tenure at AACC, but it is just one of many activities we're engaged in to advance the laboratory medicine field, serve and support our members, and improve health and healthcare for patients worldwide.
AACC's new strategic plan—approved in December 2012 by the Board of Directors—set 19 strategic priorities under five broad areas of focus. We're well on our way to implementing these priorities, and I would like to point out some of our specific activities involving best practices, science and innovation, and global influence.
This year has been quite active for our International Consortium for Harmonization of Clinical Laboratory Results, an effort to make lab test results comparable around the world, regardless of where, when, and by which method the testing occurs. We already have been joined in this initiative by the Chinese Association for Clinical Laboratory Management, the College of American Pathologists, and the Korean Society of Clinical Chemistry, and we look forward to the collaboration of colleagues from other laboratory medicine associations, standards and metrology organizations, and others. In June, we hosted a well-attended forum to address communication barriers that in vitro diagnostic manufacturers and regulators face when the former recalibrate their assays to achieve harmonization.
Even as we seek partners in harmonization, AACC is reaching out to other organizations so that the voice and expertise of laboratory medicine professionals make their way into practice guidelines of those groups. An example is a recent collaboration we forged with The Endocrine Society that gave AACC a seat on Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline writing groups for guidelines that would benefit from the laboratory medicine perspective. Already, this has taken root: an AACC member has joined The Endocrine Society's guideline committee on pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma. We expect to establish similar collaborations with many other medical associations.
AACC also will have more of a voice on issues involving scientific policy and prominent public health concerns. Our goal in these efforts is to highlight, through position statements and other communications vehicles, laboratory medicine’s essential role in healthcare and its importance to the health of individual patients. We will issue position statements designed to concisely communicate to Congress, regulators, and the news media AACC’s positions on policy issues that directly affect our members and make the connection between laboratory medicine and important healthcare issues of the day. The first of these statements, due for release shortly, will communicate AACC's position on harmonization of lab results.
As a membership association, AACC obviously is concerned about the professional lives of our members. We want to make their lives better in a number of ways, by offering top-quality educational programs, addressing the economics of laboratory medicine in terms of both reimbursement and quality, highlighting the innovations and outstanding science of our members, and ensuring that laboratorians are seen as key members of the healthcare team.
Look for further updates from me as we make headway with our strategic priorities. In the meantime, I invite you to contact me with your concerns, questions, and suggestions. We value our members and industry partners and look forward to a bright future of better health through laboratory medicine.
Janet B. Kreizman