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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Study Finds Occupying Hospital Bed Previously Used by Patient Receiving Antibiotics Increases Odds of Developing C. diff Infection

Latest research provides new opportunities for clinical laboratories to demonstrate how testing can help curb hospital-acquired infections

Pathologists, microbiologists, and other healthcare providers have long been aware that hospital patients taking antibiotics are at higher risk of contracting the potentially deadly Clostridium difficile infection (C. diff). But new research adds an interesting twist to this issue.

Recent research indicates that being a “second user” of a bed may be another risk factor for acquiring the disease. This will give clinical laboratory professionals, microbiologists, and others on the front lines of hospital infection control programs another factor to consider when working to halt the spread of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs).

The recent study was published online in JAMA Internal Medicine. It shows that patients put in a hospital bed previously occupied by someone given antibiotics are 22% more likely to develop the C. difficile infection, even if they do not themselves receive antibiotics. (more…)

More Insurers Willing to Cover Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) in a Trend That Creates New Opportunities for Clinical Pathology Laboratories to Add Value

Most insurers still determine coverage on a case-by-case basis, but two major payers now have coverage policies that are helpful to clinical labs that perform WES

Whole exome sequencing (WES) is not new for clinical pathologists, but it is becoming more common in a clinical setting as more physicians learn about its uses.

This is due to two reasons. First, researchers are identifying new ways to use whole exome sequencing to improve patient care. Second, the cost of whole genome sequencing continues to fall at a steady rate, making it ever more affordable to use in clinical settings.

As recently as 2009, WES was prohibitively expensive and there was little possibility that insurers would cover the cost of the test, as it was considered experimental. Now, however, evidence is mounting that it is an effective diagnostic tool. Therefore, more payers are announcing coverage for WES for an expanding number of diagnostic purposes. (more…)

Digital-Era Millennials Using New Tools to Select Doctors, Stay Informed, and Shop for Care, Including Selecting Clinical Pathology Laboratories

Medical laboratories can get ahead of the trend by developing processes for serving younger healthcare consumers in different ways

Experts say that Millennials are rewriting the rules of healthcare. Rather than following in baby boomers’ footsteps, this new generation of young adults shops for healthcare in ways that may change the provider-patient relationship for all providers, including pathologists and medical laboratories.

Also known as Gen Y, this generation interacts with healthcare providers differently than earlier generations in at least three basic ways:

  1. When seeking medical advice, they first turn to websites;
  2. They prefer to ask friends for physician referrals; and,
  3. They are not shy about requesting discounts from providers to cut their medical costs.

Different Approaches to Choosing Doctors and Communicating Concerns

A recent survey by Nuance Communications showed how baby boomers and millennials are taking different approaches to their healthcare. It starts with how they choose their primary care physician. (more…)

Converging Technologies Enable Faster Diagnoses by Pathologists and Physicians

Innovative and inexpensive technologies hold the promise of instantaneous diagnosis while transforming conventional clinical laboratory tools

“Point-of-care pathology” may not be that far away! The convergence of medical and information technologies, the falling cost of computing, and the growing availability of miniaturization technologies make it increasingly possible for pathologists and physicians to make informed, on-the-spot diagnostic decisions about patient care.

A new wave of imaging technologies—including pathology tools—is poised to transform the practice of medicine, reported a recent story in the New York Times. Some of these technologies make it possible for pathologists and other physicians to view individual cells in situ and in vivo.

The NY Times story highlighted multiple research and development initiatives that have the same goal: reduce the time get an answer for tissue diagnosis and bring diagnostic tests to the patient. Some technologies would engage pathologists. Others reflect developments in radiology and imaging. (more…)

Doctors’ Mistakes in Genetic Test Orders Is Warning Signal to Pathologists and Clinical Laboratories

Clinical laboratory professionals and pathologists should be aware of significant levels of errors in clinician gene test orders

Almost one-third of medical laboratory test orders for complex gene tests contained mistakes in handling by ordering clinicians. This finding comes from a study by ARUP Laboratories, Inc.. The finding is an early warning flag for pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals that a gap exists between the availability of genetic tests and clinician knowledge of how and when to use them and how to interpret the results. (more…)