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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Convergence of In Vivo Imaging and Digitized Pathology Is Under Way

Three factors are driving the development of imaging systems in pathology. First, the market for digital pathology imaging systems has accelerating momentum as pathology labs acquire and use this technology. Second, the same factors that drove acceptance of digital radiology systems are encouraging wider use of digital pathology solutions. Third, digital imaging systems hold great promise for pathologists, radiologists, oncologists, and other medical professionals seeking to improve the accuracy and timeliness of diagnostics.

“The fields of imaging and informatics in medicine are on the cusp of fusion with the fields of molecular medicine, pathology imaging, and radiology imaging,” said Michael Becich, M.D., Ph.D. “The point at which these three disciplines intersect offers almost unlimited potential for the future of personalized medicine!” Becich is Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Pathology, Information Sciences and Telecommunications at the University of Pittsburgh. Becich also is one of three course directors for a conference to be held later this month: Advancing Practice, Instruction and Innovation Through Informatics (APIII).

“It’s a very exciting time to be working in these fields,” explained Becich. “Digitized pathology tools are contributing to more accurate diagnoses. They are also shortening the time required to make a diagnosis on what have been particularly difficult cases, and we are improving patient safety as well.”

Dark Daily readers interested in how digitized pathology is developing and its intersection with radiology imaging will find expert sessions on this topic at the upcoming conference: “Advancing Practice, Instruction and Innovation Through Informatics (APIII), scheduled for October 19-23, 2008 at the Marriott City Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Of particular interest, conference co-organizer the Association for Pathology Informatics (API) has developed a partnership with the Society of Imaging and Informatics in Medicine to produce a learning track of sessions for radiology informatics professionals.

“The acceptance of digitized pathology imaging systems by pathologists is gaining speed,” observed Becich. “Use of digitized pathology images is already changing the standard of practice in several areas of surgical pathology. Every pathology group should be developing a strategy that addresses digitized pathology systems. Furthermore, the intersection of in vivo imaging and in vitro molecular testing promises to further transform the traditional work practices in pathology.”

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Washington Post Gives Phlebotomists New Respect

One of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers recently recognized the importance of phlebotomy. The Washington Post reported that one school in our nation’s capital has phlebotomy students train on live humans rather than practice with oranges.

With the title “They’re So Vein: Tapping a Job Market,” The Washington Post did a feature on career opportunities in phlebotomy and the training provided at Sanz College , in Washington, DC. In the July 14 story, the reporter pointedly noted that many phlebotomy training classes have students practice with oranges-but that’s not the case at Sanz College, which requires each student to perform 42 successful venipunctures on humans before they successfully complete their phlebotomy training course. Each member of the class of 13 adults paid $1,900 for 92 hours of instruction in 12 weeks. In that time, the students are expected to complete the 42 venipunctures, mostly on each other.

Sanz College has only offered the phlebotomy training program since December. It recognized the strong demand for phlebotomists. In the article, Ron Sandler, a Corporate Director at Sanz, said, “We identified a market need for phlebotomists in the greater metropolitan area. As our population in the country as a whole [gets] grayer and older, there’s need for more and more [laboratory] testing as people get ill and need to get diagnosed.” The school offers two-year degree programs in computer and information sciences, English language and literature, medical assisting, and medical office management. It has an enrollment of 525 students, 76% of whom are women.

According to The Washington Post, the individuals participating in the phlebotomy class this summer came from a variety of backgrounds. There was a 60-year-old math teacher who had moved to the D.C. area from India and a 34-year-old medical assistant who had relocated from Eritrea. Also attending were 52-year-old car salesman who left New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, a 32-year-old bank teller, and a 26-year-old college graduate. Each one wanted to learn a marketable skill in healthcare, an area where jobs are available and demand for phlebotomists will stay strong for years to come.

Demand for phlebotomy training is evidently strong in the Washington, DC area. The story noted that Northern Virginia Community College had already filled all of its 16 phlebotomy places for its fall semester training.

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They’re So Vein: Tapping A Job Market