News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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World Congress of Pathology in Sydney Recognizes Globalization of Pathology

Pathology is on a path to globalization and evidence of this ongoing trend will be seen on March 13-15, 2009 at the XXV World Congress of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in Sydney, Australia. For starters, several thousand pathologists from nations around the world will gather to hear 120 different sessions and visit an international hall of exhibitors. That’s an impressive demonstration of how laboratory medicine is crossing borders.

But what Dark Daily subscribers and readers may consider a fascinating sign of pathology globalization at the World Congress of Pathology is this year’s addition of a special extended session titled “Laboratory Medicine’s Transformational Role in the Genomic Age.” The goal is to predict the path of pathology as genetic knowledge unlocks new diagnostic capabilities, which give pathologists new tools to diagnose disease and identify the most promising therapies for patients. Batting first in this line-up is your intrepid Dark Daily Editor. Here’s the international panel for this session:

Why Pathology Testing Is Soon to Cross New Clinical Boundaries

Mr. Robert Michel, Editor, The Dark Report and Dark Daily, Spicewood, Texas, USA

Translation of Genetic Information into Healthcare Use

Dr. Michael Watson, Executive Director of the American College of Medical Genetics and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Genetics Practice and Research in a Small Country: Lessons from Iceland

Dr. Jón J Jónsson, Chair of the Division of Biochemistry, Clinical Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, Landspitali-University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland

In Vitro-In Vivo Diagnostic Frontiers

Dr. Don Rucker, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Malvern, Pennsylvania USA

The Future of Pathology

Dr Jared Schwartz, President, College of American Pathologists, Director of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Presbyterian Healthcare, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

This year’s World Congress of Pathology is organized by the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA). The Aussie hosts remind us that-despite globalization- all healthcare is local by offering a series of presentations on the types of forensic pathology cases frequently in Australia, titled: “Recreational Deaths”

Ultra-light Plane Crashes

Dr. Jo Duflu

Scuba Diving Fatalities

Dr. Chris Lawrence

Australian Outback Deaths: Snakes, Sun, and Crocodiles

Dr. Kevin Lee

Certainly those topics are a reminder that some Australians enjoy activities that come with risk. The World Congress of Pathology, with its 120 sessions, will have something for everyone. The full agenda and registration information can be accessed by visiting the RCPA Web site (Or paste this URL in your browser:

The day before the World Congress of Pathology Convenes, a special full-day seminar on the business and management of pathology laboratories will take place, co-produced by the Australasian Association of Clinical Biochemists (AACB) and the RCPA. On March Titled: “The Pathology Workforce Crisis: International Situation & Solutions.” Robert Michel, your Dark Daily Editor, will be the opening speaker. Full details for this program can be accessed at the AACB (Or paste this URL in your browser:

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Regional Laboratory Networks Sprouting in the United Kingdom

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – Here in the United Kingdom, regional laboratory networks are finally catching on. The number of “pathology networks,” as they are called here, has increased in recent years. As was true of Canada in the late 1980s and the United States and Australia during the 1990s, clinical lab leaders in the United Kingdom are finding regional laboratory networks to be effective business models to achieve tight integration of lab services, realize significant cost savings, and eliminate excess lab testing capacity in regional markets.

These achievements were confirmed by presentations delivered yesterday in Birmingham, England, at the sixth annual Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM) conference yesterday. Produced jointly by the Association of Clinical Biochemistry and The Dark Report. Your editor, Robert Michel, is here and participating in all the sessions. Four regional laboratory networks presented their accomplishments yesterday.

In the northwest of England, the Greater Manchester Pathology Network, formed in 2005, is composed of laboratories from 16 hospitals and serves a population of 2.5 million people. In his presentation, co-presenters Neil Jenkinson, Ph.D., Network Director, and Keith Hyde, Ph.D., Deputy Director of Laboratory Medicine, reported how participating pathology laboratories (as clinical laboratories are called in this country) are progressively developing integrated lab testing services. One key objective is to develop a common laboratory informatics capability that allows the 16 hospital laboratories to more effectively serve primary care clinics in the region.

Local to the Birmingham area, Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology Services was created in May 2007, by two acute care trusts that had always been wary of each other, According to Neil Anderson, Ph.D., Director, this pathology network has 412 employees and provides lab testing services to a population of 950,000. Steps toward integration and consolidation of lab testing services centered around three areas of lab testing:

  • Blood sciences (Chemistry, Hematology, Transfusion medicine and Immunology)
  • Microbiology (Microbiology, Virology, and Laboratory Infection Control)
  • Cellular Pathology (Histopathology, Cytology and Mortuary services).

Anderson explained that, within two years, the pathology network had delivered £1.9 million (U.S.$2.8 million) in savings to its two parent trusts. As well, steps had been taken to install a common laboratory information system (LIS), and flexibility in staffing was contributing to improved levels of service to clinicians.

Two overseas regional laboratory networks were at FiLM to share their successes learned. In Australia, Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology Laboratories, a division of Sonic Healthcare, LTD, operates a regional laboratory network in Northeastern Australia that serves a population of 3 million people. With a central laboratory in Brisbane, it has 21 other laboratories located across a service area of millions of square miles in the states of Northern Territory, Queensland, and New South Wales. Executive Manager Tony Badrick, Ph.D., observed that, with an operating history of several decades, this regional laboratory network’s current objective is to quality management systems to advance the performance of operations. Sullivan Nicolaides is certified under ISO 9001 and ISO 15189. It is working on its ISO 14000 certification.

The fourth regional laboratory network presented at FiLM Tuesday was Calgary Laboratory Services in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This case study was presented by Fred Swaine, M.D., Chief Operating Officer. This regional laboratory network was created back in the mid-1990s, when the government of Alberta mandated an immediate reduction of 35% in funding for laboratory services. Swaine described how this regional laboratory network is in the midst of its third cycle of lab consolidation and integration since 1996. It serves 1.2 million people and is currently comprised of one central laboratory, with rapid response labs in four hospitals.

Swaine noted that one notable accomplishment of the early network organization was to install a single laboratory information system (LIS). That has made it easier for Calgary Laboratory Services to collect, store, and provide access to laboratory data across its entire service region.

Dark Daily notes that these four examples of regional laboratory networks demonstrate how this trend has established strong roots. For almost two decades, operational regional lab networks in Australia, Canada, and the United States have proved to be effective providers in their respective service areas. It is expected that the number of pathology networks will continue to expand.

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