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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Synthetic Biologists Demonstrate Ability to Rapidly Create Cheap, Accurate In Vitro Diagnostics Tests That Could Eventually Help Pathologists Diagnose Disease

Wyss Institute develops prototype Ebola test in less than 12 hours with $20 in materials, perhaps paving the way for inexpensive paper-based diagnostic tests with a wide range of applications outside the medical laboratory

One goal of many synthetic biology researchers is to create in vitro diagnostic testing systems that produce results that are as accurate as those produced in today’s state-of-the-art clinical laboratories, yet are much cheaper to run because they incorporate low-cost materials, such as paper.

Recently, two teams of researchers worked to demonstrate how several synthetic biology methods, when combined with programmable paper-based diagnostic platform, could detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria and strain-specific Ebola virus. These findings were published in a peer-reviewed medical journal last fall.

Such cell-free circuits embedded in paper could be the breakthrough in synthetic biology that leads to pocketsize blotter tests that can detect such diseases as Ebola in the field.  Should this line of research be applied to clinical settings, pathologists and medical laboratory scientists could soon be processing bandages that change colors in the presence of certain bacteria, or examining paper-based clothing infused with diagnostic laboratory tests that react to bio-markers specific to a chronic disease patient’s condition. (more…)

Studies Show How Clinical Whole-Exome Sequencing May Forever Change the Future Practice of Medicine while Giving Pathologists a New Opportunity to Deliver Value

Similar study of exome sequencing at UCLA produces findings that mirror the diagnostic outcomes produced by researchers at the three Houston organizations

In recent years, pathologists and other clinical laboratory professionals have seen increasing evidence of the benefits of using exome sequencing for clinical diagnostic purposes.

Confirming their initial published findings of a 25% molecular diagnostic rate, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), Baylor Human Genome Center, and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have released results of a large sampling of 2,000 consecutive patients.

In this expanded study, published in the November 12, 2014, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 504 patients (25.2%) received a molecular diagnosis and 92 patients (4.6%) benefitted from medical intervention to ameliorate or eliminate negative symptoms. (more…)

Findings Confirm What Pathologists Have Known for Years: Significant Number of Primary Care Doctors Are Uncertain about the Correct Clinical Laboratory Test to Order

National survey of 1,768 family practice and internal medicine specialists determines that they are struggling to stay current with changing guidelines for ordering and interpreting medical laboratory tests

Recent publication of a new study confirms what pathologists and medical laboratory professionals have known for years: a significant number of primary care physicians acknowledge that they sometimes are uncertain about which clinical laboratory test is the most appropriate one to order. These same doctors also admit that they are often also uncertain how to interpret the results of some medical laboratory tests.

Physicians Uncertain when Ordering Clinical Laboratory Tests

These are two conclusions resulting from a survey published in the March-April edition of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (JABFM). It is important that clinical laboratory administrators and pathologists understand the survey findings for two important reasons.


Earthquakes and New Lab Test Contracts Shake Up Christchurch’s Pathology Marketplace

It’s been a challenging year for this New Zealand city’s medical laboratory testing professionals

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND—Two private clinical laboratory companies in this city have had quite a roller coaster ride during the past 18 months. Included in the ups and downs were a series of destructive earthquakes, a new contract bidding cycle that eliminated one of the two existing private medical laboratory companies, and a lab acquisition.

For pathologists and clinical lab administrators in other countries, there are useful lessons to be learned in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes. Among other things, one clinical laboratory company needed to move its testing facility six different times in a year! That’s because aftershocks and ongoing engineering inspections revealed significant damage to these different buildings at different points in time.

Two Major Earthquakes within Six Months in Christchurch

It was September 4, 2010, when a magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked the city, causing considerable damage but no fatalities. Just six months later, on February 22, 2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch. This second earthquake caused substantial damage and loss of life. For this event, experts noted that the “intensity and violence of the ground shaking was measured to be… among the strongest ever recorded globally in an urban area.” (more…)

In New Zealand, Contracts Often Define Specific Tests a Clinical Pathology Laboratory Can Provide to Physicians

District Health Boards in New Zealand use medical laboratory test contracts as one way to control cost of testing and better manage utilization

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND—Medical laboratory testing in this mid-sized city is carefully divided between a community laboratory company and the cluster of hospitals located in and around Hamilton. The test menu offered by each clinical laboratory is defined by contracts negotiated with the individual District Health Boards (DHB) that manage the healthcare system in this region of New Zealand.

This week, your Dark Daily editor, Robert L. Michel is in New Zealand. He is visiting clinical and pathology laboratories in two cities and speaking at the 2012 Pathology Laboratory Meeting that is conducted annually by Canterbury Health Laboratories (CHL), located in Christchurch. (more…)