Listen to the Clinical Chemistry Podcast
Dr. Nader Rifai is Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Chemistry and Chair of the Clinical Chemistry Trainee Council.
This is a podcast from Clinical Chemistry, sponsored by the Department of Laboratory Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. I am Bob Barrett.
And our guest today is Dr. Nader Rifai, Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Chemistry and Chair of the Clinical Chemistry Trainee Council, to announce the launch of a new program from AACC’s Clinical Chemistry Trainee Council, the Question Bank. And Dr. Rifai, why was the Question Bank created?
Well, Bob, preparing for board examinations is difficult for trainees of any clinical specialty and this is particularly true for those in clinical pathology. Often the information for the various disciplines in laboratory medicine is available in multiple places and in a book format.
The idea of having questions covering all aspects of laboratory medicine in one place, and also having it available electronically is quite appealing. Of course, having the questions in an electronic format will enable the constant update and refinement of the questions on the basis of the feedback received.
Another wonderful feature of this program is the fact that it’s not only accessed by a computer, but also available on all mobile devices, thus giving the trainees a greater flexibility. So the Question Bank, which is by the way free of charge, is created to assist laboratory medicine trainees in their preparation for board exams in both the US and the UK.
Are these questions peer reviewed?
Yes. All questions are either peer reviewed or reviewed by crowd sourcing for accuracy and appropriateness. They are graded by the level of difficulty and the test score is calculated automatically to help in evaluating one’s skill level. Each set, which we call a “course,” consists of ten questions in a particular topic and is assigned a level of difficulty. So these brief courses will allow trainees to test their knowledge quickly and on the go.
We have at our disposal at the present time over 3000 questions, but we will be launching the Question Bank with about 1000 questions. This is, of course, just the starting point and we will be adding hundreds of questions in the upcoming weeks and months.
Well, let’s get into subject matter, what topics do the questions cover?
Well, as I indicated earlier, the questions cover all aspects of laboratory medicine which includes transfusion medicine, chemistry, toxicology, coagulation and hematology, immunology, hematopathology, microbiology, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
The questions came to us from a variety of organizations, such as the AACC, the College of American Pathologists, the American Society of Clinical Pathology, and the Association of Clinical Biochemistry in the UK, and from several institutions including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Washington University, and Mayo Clinic, among others. In addition, questions were solicited and obtained from the AACC SYCL members.
Okay! So how does the Question Bank work?
Well, the questions can be accessed via either a computer or a mobile device, as I indicated earlier. The trainee chooses a particular topic and a particular level of difficulty and picks the course.
So if the trainee completes the course with the score of 80% or higher, he or she can have a certificate sent to them, or to their mentor. And I really believe that this will be immensely helpful to both trainees and mentors in keeping track of progress in an evidence-based manner, and is equally helpful to accrediting agencies in accessing the actual training program itself.
Well, finally Dr. Rifai, how can a user access the Question Bank?
Oh, this is very simple. The Question Bank, as I said, is free of charge to all Trainee Council members, and is housed on that site. So for those who are not Council members yet, please go to www.traineecouncil.org and register. It takes only one minute, I promise.
Okay. Dr. Nader Rifai is Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Chemistry and Chair of the Clinical Chemistry Trainee Council. He has been our guest in this podcast from Clinical Chemistry. I am Bob Barrett, thanks for listening.