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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WannaCry Ransomware Holds Critical Data Hostage Worldwide, Including UK’s National Health Service and Russia’s Interior Ministry

Attack on computer systems worldwide highlights critical importance for hospitals and medical laboratories to regularly update IT infrastructure and software

While Internet connectivity and automation are changing the landscape of both healthcare and diagnostic testing facilities, it is also creating new ways for things to go catastrophically wrong. The WannaCry ransomware attack on May 12th highlights the critical need for hospitals, medical practices, pathology groups, and clinical laboratories to constantly update the software and systems powering much of their healthcare continuum.

After infection, the ransomware encrypts 179 different file types on the system it’s attacking. It then demands payment in bitcoins to remove the encryption and restore access to files. Clinical laboratories should be wary of any suspicious e-mail attachments and apply security updates to vulnerable systems as soon as possible. (more…)

Pathologists and Physicians in United Kingdom Comment on How Shortage of Medical Laboratory Professionals Could Soon Delay Essential Diagnostic, Therapeutic Testing

As chronic disease and aging populations strain the UK’s medical systems, staffing shortages at pathology laboratories contribute to lengthening delays of critical diagnostic services

In the United Kingdom (UK), pathologists and other physicians are going public with their concerns that a growing shortage of pathologists and medical laboratory scientists will soon contribute to delays in performing the lab tests needed to diagnose patients—particularly those with cancer—and identify which therapies will work best for them.

Thanks to vast improvements to both medical laboratory capabilities and treatment options, the cancer survival rate in the UK doubled over the past four decades. However, early diagnosis is a critical component to a successful outcome. As further strain is placed on medical laboratories and diagnostic providers, wait times continue to increase beyond the thresholds created by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

Worsening an already dire situation, a November 2016 report from Cancer Research UK, “Testing Times to Come? An Evaluation of Pathology Capacity Across the UK,” predicts a critical shortage in laboratory staffing within the next decade. Data on Provider-based Cancer Waiting Times for August 2016 from National Health Service England shows that 17.2% of patients with an urgent referral for suspected cancer fail to start treatment within two months of the referral. (more…)

Europe’s Medical Laboratory Innovators Convene in United Kingdom to Share Successes in Meeting New Healthcare Challenges, Including Big Data, Genetic Testing, and Digital Pathology

15th Annual Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM) takes place in Birmingham, England, on January 31–February 1, 2017, and features pathology experts from UK, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, Serbia, Canada, and the USA

Recent innovations in medical laboratory management and operations in Europe and the United Kingdom (UK) will be the subject of a major conference that takes place on January 31 through February 1, 2017, in Birmingham, England. It is the 15th annual Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM).

“Medical laboratories throughout Europe are confronted with multiple challenges,” stated Robert Michel, Editor-in-Chief of The Dark Report and one of the conference organizers. “Funding for lab tests is shrinking, demand for lab tests is soaring, and many national health systems are taking forceful actions to consolidate labs into regional networks. All of these topics will be discussed at FiLM.” (more…)

In the United Kingdom, Medical Laboratory Professionals Gather to Explore Disruptive Diagnostic Technology, ISO 15189, and How Labs Can Add Value

Two-day conference attracted an international audience of clinical laboratory scientists and addressed major trends in healthcare and laboratory medicine

DATELINE: BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND—This week in the industrial heartland of the United Kingdom, pathologists and medical laboratory professionals gathered for the 13th Annual Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM) conference. The hot topics were new quality management standards for labs in the UK, innovative ways to improve utilization of clinical laboratory tests, and how first mover laboratories in the United Kingdom are using such disruptive technologies as digital pathology and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry.

FiLM is co-produced annual by the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and The Dark Report. Over the past decade, it has grown into the largest conference in Europe that addresses the management and operation of medical laboratories and histopathology laboratories.

New Medical Laboratory Standards include ISO 15189

Currently, medical laboratories in the United Kingdom are adapting to changes in accreditation and external quality assurance (EQA—known as proficiency testing in the United States). By 2018, all labs in the UK will need to be accredited to the standards of ISO 15189: Medical Laboratories. As this happens, the United Kingdom will join a growing list of nations that now use ISO 15189 as a basis for licensure and accreditation of histopathology and medical laboratories. (more…)

Medical Laboratory Leaders Gather in the United Kingdom to Address Challenges of Shrinking Lab Budgets and Need to Upgrade Quality Assurance Performance

Nation’s healthcare system is in the midst of major clinical, organizational, and financial reforms—many of which require immediate responses by pathology laboratories

BIRMINGHAM, England—Two major challenges in laboratory medicine were front and center this week when medical laboratory, a professionals and histopathologists gathered here in the United Kingdom (UK) for the eleventh annual Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM).

One challenge is how to improve the quality of lab testing services and demonstrate value to payers. The other challenge is how medical laboratories in the UK  can cope with shrinking budgets for medical laboratories. (more…)