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FilmArray GI: findings from first months of clinical use

April 2016—Treating Clostridium difficile can be dreadfully difficult, even when a clinician doesn’t have to navigate ordering restrictions based on testing frequency. So when Julie A. Ribes, MD, PhD, director of clinical microbiology at UK HealthCare in Lexington, Ky., received a phone call last year from a clinician who asked for repeat C. difficile testing, she was more than sympathetic.

Beyond connectivity: middleware’s shifting shape

April 2016—Middleware was always about connectivity. But when it emerged on the scene some 20 years ago, connectivity involved basically one mandate: getting laboratory instruments to talk electronically to a hospital’s laboratory information system, accept orders, and deliver results to the right shelves in the LIS warehouse.

In memoriam: Thomas P. Wood, MD | 1929–2016

April 2016—Thomas P. Wood, MD, the 25th president of the CAP, died Feb. 15 at age 87. Dr. Wood was speaker of the House of Delegates from 1992 to 1995, president-elect from 1995 to 1997, and president from 1997 to 1999. He was a longtime member of the Professional Affairs Committee (which he also chaired) and the Council on Government and Professional Affairs, and he was a board director of the CAP Foundation for six years. In 2000, the CAP recognized him as Pathologist of the Year.

Cutting cultures: the move to all molecular in virology

March 2016—For laboratories performing virology testing, taking advantage of molecular testing’s superiority to traditional testing methods is a no-brainer. But leaders in the University of Michigan’s clinical microbiology laboratory have found that the push to go all molecular for virology testing must be tempered by attentiveness to clinician preferences and a collaborative approach that’s likelier to make the journey a success.

Lab shoots for better phlebotomy service, satisfied patients

March 2016—Try running a race and tying your shoes at the same time. That is the kind of challenge laboratories face when they endeavor to refine their processes while providing all the usual services clinicians and patients expect. When laboratory leaders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston surveyed the landscape of their phlebotomy operations, they spotted many opportunities for improvement through Lean Kaizen events as well as technology that reduces the risk of human error.

Liquid biopsy—much to do about something

March 2016—Lynette Sholl, MD, isn’t fully sold on that hottest of feverishly hot topics, liquid biopsy. “It’s kind of a sexy colloquialism, I suppose,” says Dr. Sholl, associate director, Center for Advanced Molecular Diagnostics, and associate pathologist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. “Is there an official definition?”

Immunotherapy steers focus to microenvironment

March 2016—It’s not every day that a monoclonal antibody leads the news. But when former president Jimmy Carter was successfully treated for metastasized melanoma last year with the new drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda), the story made headlines. Carter’s recovery—surprising to many when it was announced in December—may have been helped by traditional radiation and chemotherapy. However, the role played by pembrolizumab spotlighted immunotherapy as an exciting advance in the evolution of cancer treatment.

Broadening the productivity spectrum with middleware

March 2016—As James Beck, MT(ASCP), remembers it, middleware was introduced at his institution about the same time that the nursing department decided connectivity should be the province of the laboratory. When the concept of docking and interfacing glucose testing devices came on the scene around the turn of the millennium, that was a turning point, says Beck, who is point-of-care testing coordinator for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center–St. Margaret, which uses the Telcor middleware solution QML.

Roads cross in clonal hematopoiesis and stem cell studies

March 2016—At the annual meeting of the Association for Molecular Pathology in November 2015, one plenary session was called “Exciting Times for Translational Research in Molecular Hematology.” In accord with the title, Margaret Goodell, PhD, gave an exciting talk about how hematopoietic stem cells are regulated in mice. While Dr. Goodell’s basic research was impressive, what was most remarkable was how it meshed with and anticipated research in human hematopoietic malignancies from other laboratories.

Proficiency tests on multiple instruments: CMS clarifies regs

March 2016—If a laboratory does not perform its proficiency testing in accordance with a recently reiterated CMS directive regarding PT on multiple instruments, its standing with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could be at stake. In fact, “You could be sanctioned directly by the CMS,” says Thomas Long, MPH, CAP director of biostatistics.