From assessing the utility of procalcitonin testing in sepsis management to improving workplace interrelations, AACC webinars in 2018 covered a wide array of topics, educating laboratorians and other professionals on the latest technologies and best practices in clinical laboratory medicine.

The top five webinars by number of participants reflect this diversity:

These and all other webinars offered in 2018 remain available on demand free of charge (registration required).

Procalcitonin, an objective blood marker that provides useful information about the risk of sepsis and other bacterial infections, was the subject of two of this year’s most popular webinars. One webinar on March 21, Procalcitonin to Guide Antibiotic Decisions in Bacterial Respiratory Infections and Sepsis, looked at the role of procalcitonin results in helping guide antibiotic therapy. Webinar speaker Philipp Schuetz, MD, MPH, discussed the clinical uses of this analyte ;and other biomarkers in managing bacterial infections and advised labs on their responsibilities with respect to implementing procalcitonin testing.

A second webinar on October 10—Implementing Procalcitonin: A Team Approach—revisited the utility of procalcitonin, offering a team-based approach to implementing this biomarker in clinical practice. Speaker Robert L. Fitzgerald, PhD, DABCC, director of toxicology and associate director of clinical chemistry at the University of California-San Diego Health, discussed the clinical applications of using procalcitonin to differentiate bacterial from viral infections and de-escalating antibiotic therapy in respiratory infections, offering a how-to on developing a plan for implementing procalcitonin testing in clinical laboratories.

Interferences in diagnostic tests is another important matter for clinical labs. New cancer treatments and some types of supplements are examples of factors that lead to interferences, which can cause erroneous test results. The rising use of biotin supplements in particular has heightened the need for labs and clinicians to be aware of interferences, especially when test results don’t match a patient’s clinical picture. Strategies for Reducing Analytical Interferences in the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory, reviewed this topic at length on September 12. Speaker David Grenache, PhD, FAACC, DABCC, chief scientific officer at TriCore Reference Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, covered the types of interferences that labs may encounter, offering strategies to mitigate such errors and ensure proper treatment in patients.

Sometimes the challenges labs face aren’t about accurate clinical specimen results or preventing disease, but communicating effectively with fellow laboratorians. Managing Tough Conversations: Positive, Proactive Solutions ;addressed this delicate issue in a March 7 webinar co-hosted by AACC and LabLeaders. Karen Hough, founder and CEO of interactive training group ImprovEdge in Powell, Ohio, led participants through a three-step process for dealing with the most challenging but sometimes most important conversations, and then devising a plan of action. Hough also presented simple tools to record and track progress, decisions, and comments.

Infectious disease was the subject of a summer webinar on the challenges of diagnosing Hepatitis B virus ;(HBV). Patricia Slev, PhD, DABCC, section chief of the Immunology Division and medical director of the Serologic Hepatitis and Retrovirus Laboratory and Immunology Core Laboratory at ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City, addressed the complexities of HBV infection, covering the latest advances and changes in testing, diagnostic guidelines, and tools for diagnosing HBV infections.

Each of these webinars is worth 1 ACCENT credit—and they’re still available for viewing. Register now at no charge to learn more about these relevant topics in laboratory medicine.