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How satisfied are physicians with labs? Study digs deep

March 2015—In the span of human history, seven years is nothing but an eye blink. But in technological terms, seven years might as well be a geologic epoch. Consider: Only since 2007 have we seen Netflix streaming services; Kindles, Nooks, and other e-readers; and the sweeping adoption of the iPhone.

Groups closing the gap in reference materials for sequencing assays

March 2015—It’s a truism in the clinical laboratory that your results are only as good as the reference standards available to QC your assay. For measuring small analytes like glucose that’s not a problem. However, in clinical laboratories the analyte in question increasingly is DNA. In the past five years, next-generation sequencing has been adopted to detect variants in small targeted regions of specific genes, which is useful in oncology and medical genetics. More ambitious applications of NGS—whole genome and whole exome sequencing—have recently begun to enter the clinical realm as well.

Genetic profiling vies with IHC in retune of CUP testing

March 2015—Tesla beats Camry. Online catalogs replace paper. Keurig edges out Chemex. Mobile trounces landline. When paradigms shift, the theory goes, we can only cling to the technology in the outbox for just so long. But that’s a theory that may not apply to diagnostic testing for cancer of unknown primary (CUP). Microarray-based gene expression profiling (GEP) has recently gained a foothold in the quest to identify origins and therapeutic targets for metastatic cancer, but traditional immunohistochemistry is not about to be sidelined.

Pap test litigation—
Not backing off: CAP retains call for blinded review

March 2015—When the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued an opinion harshly criticizing the CAP’s guidelines on review of Pap tests last summer, many in the pathology community were stunned by the rebuke and wondered whether change was called for.

With molecular MPN testing, think positive

March 2015—If molecular tests for myeloproliferative neoplasms ever decide to write their autobiography, they could easily do a riff on the business bestseller Getting to Yes. For myeloproliferative neoplasms, morphologic and clinical findings should guide molecular analysis, which can often be a helpful way to clinch the diagnosis, says Dr. David Czuchlewski (left), of TriCore Reference Laboratories, with Mohammad Vasef, MD, TriCore’s director of molecular diagnostics.

Paths to validating, using urine sediment analyzers

March 2015—Before Lahey Hospital and Medical Center’s clinical laboratory brought an automated urine sediment analyzer on board last November, it had been doing manual microscopy on positive dipstick specimens only. A review of that practice uncovered problems with quality, including patient misdiagnosis, says Tim Skelton, MD, PhD, medical director of the core laboratory and laboratory informatics at the tertiary care medical center in Burlington, Mass.

Hear me now? Another audition for speech recognition

March 2015—When Pete Fisher, MD, says his name aloud, the speech-recognition system he uses spits out the words “deep fissure” on the screen. And there are times when he says “note that” and “note fat” pops up instead. Despite the occasional hiccups, he loves the software and the freedom it affords him to do his work without being bound to a transcriptionist’s timetable.

Companies say their AP LIS is up to the job, and how

March 2015—From tracking charges in anatomic pathology and maintaining documentation to the changing classifications of some cancers, representatives of five companies tell CAP TODAY what their AP systems offer and what they’re working on to help labs.

From the bench, a view of MALDI-TOF mass spec

February 2015—Melissa Jones, MT(ASCP), doesn’t mince words—not when it comes to MALDI-TOF MS. “It’s going to revolutionize the way you do microbiology in your laboratory, and you’re absolutely going to love it,” said Jones, who is a microbiology specialist for clinical microbiology and immunology at McLendon Clinical Laboratories at University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill.

Study, strategy lift up POC critical value practices

February 2015—Too many point-of-care glucose test results in the critical high and low ranges may be nonreproducible and therefore should be repeated. That was the finding of a study published last year that said POC glucose results in the critical ranges should be considered to have a relatively high probability of signaling a potential preanalytic error.