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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Internationally-respected Experts in Clinical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Ask: Why Don’t We Know More about Theranos’ Technology?

This secretive start-up medical laboratory testing company has not disclosed how its diagnostic test technology works, nor has it given laboratorians an opportunity to examine the technology

Several internationally-respected clinical laboratory experts are asking serious questions about Theranos and its diagnostic testing technology, and they’ve gotten few answers to date. Though the number of experts is small, their credentials in the clinical laboratory profession are impressive. In addition, some have published their critiques of the start-up medical laboratory company in well-respected medical journals.

One question these clinical pathologists and laboratory directors ask is why Theranos has so far been unwilling to provide more information about the lab testing technology it uses to deliver medical laboratory test results to patients and their referring physicians. Even as the company has declined to speak to the medical laboratory profession, Theranos has mounted a major public relations campaign designed to make a big impression on investors, business partners, and most recently on health insurers.

The clinical laboratory company in Palo Alto, Calif., gets plenty of attention because it claims to have disruptive technology that will allow it to perform medical laboratory tests equivalent to the current standard of care. Theranos says it can do this using a capillary specimen and return results in four hours, while charging a price that is just 50% of Medicare Part B lab test fees. Given these assertions, it is natural that pathologists and laboratory scientists who perform tests for patients, are curious about the scientific basis of Theranos’ proprietary diagnostic technology and what evidence Theranos has developed to support its claims of comparable accuracy and reproducibility. (more…)

Multi-national Gathering of Clinical Laboratory Professionals Assesses Benefits and Problems with Point-of Care Testing in Toronto this Week

Pathologists and medical laboratory professionals heard speakers from Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada discuss the latest developments in POCT

TORONTO, ONTARIO—Spirited discussion always results when pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals discuss point-of-care testing (POCT). That was certainly true during a special POCT workshop that took place here this week.

Attendees came from as far away as Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand to attend “Point-of-Care Testing: Today and Tomorrow.” The conference was produced by the Toronto-based Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare (IQMH).

Point-of-Care Testing Has an Essential Role in Patient Care

As most medical laboratory scientists know, POCT can be both a blessing and a curse. When used properly, POCT plays an essential role in patient care and can guide physicians in ways that improve outcomes. However, problems associated with the ongoing management and performance of an organization’s POCT program regularly frustrates laboratory scientists tasked with oversight of POCT. (more…)

Study Shows How Simple Changes in Reporting Medical Laboratory Test Results to Clinicians Improve Patient Safety and Reduce Inappropriate Use of Antibiotics

Researchers focused on whether different ways of reporting clinical laboratory test results would improve care for patients at low risk for developing urinary tract infections

Simple changes in how clinical laboratory tests are reported to clinicians can contribute to improved patient safety and a reduction in the inappropriate use of antibiotics. These were the conclusions of a recent study published in the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s (IDSA) peer-reviewed medical journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases (CID).

If the findings of this study can be duplicated in other settings, it can provide pathologists and medical laboratory scientists with another approach to improve the way clinicians utilize clinical laboratory tests so as to improve patient outcomes and reduce the associated cost of care. (more…)

Pathologists in Canada Address Handling and Use of Tissue Specimens for Clinical Diagnostic Purposes at IQMH Conference in Toronto

Variability in how tissue is handled from one histopathology laboratory to another greatly affects quality of specimen and accuracy of the pathologist’s diagnosis

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA—Here on the shores of Lake Ontario, pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals gathered last week for a unique conference that focused on quality issues involving how tissue is handled from collection and transport to the histopathology laboratory processing to diagnosis by surgical pathologists.

Your Dark Daily editor was here to participate in the conference and learn from a first-rank panel of speakers. As many long-time readers know, patients, physicians, and health insurers expect increasingly higher levels of accuracy in how lab specimens are handled and greater precision in the resulting diagnosis that is produced by pathologists. Thus, a conference dedicated to tissue specimen integrity and quality is both timely and appropriate. (more…)

Across Canada, Clinical Pathology Laboratories Are Adopting Different Operational Models to Deliver More Value to Clinicians

Because of successive decreases in budgets for clinical laboratory testing, many Canadian medical laboratories are engaging their staffs to innovate and introduce new value-added testing services

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA—Traditional operational and business models for clinical laboratory testing are under siege here in Canada, just as they are in other developed nations across the globe. That was one important trend identified by multiple speakers at Executive Edge 2013, that took place Monday and Tuesday of this week.

During Monday morning’s opening session, a common point of emphasis was that simply consolidating specimens into large medical laboratory facilities as a way to achieve economies of scale and lower the average cost per test is fast becoming obsolete. All pathologists and clinical laboratory managers understand why this is true: payers can lower reimbursement for lab tests faster than labs can cut the costs of performing those tests. (more…)