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ADVANCE for Laboratory is thrilled to welcome you to DeLABerations: A Medium for Lab Professionals and Managers, part of the Healthcare POV: Blog and Forum Community from ADVANCE. Our blogs tackle timely questions, offer advice and opinions about the laboratory field and connect professionals nationwide. We have provided tags to assist in locating topics of interest, a profile page to make uniquely your own and a list of our most active posts to keep you abreast of the latest discussions. We look forward to hearing more about your field from your Point of View (POV).
April 17, 2014 1:50 PM by David Plaut of David Plaut: Off the Cuff

One of my concerns regarding the increased sensitivity of the available troponin  assays (both T and I) is the number of patients with measureable cTn with the newer methods. To a great extent, this concern has been alleviated by a recent study of several commercial assays in a 90 minute window. Of 465 ER patients, there were 12 AMIs. At presentation, the clinical sensitivity and specificity ...

April 17, 2014 1:40 PM by Eleanor Wolfram of The Power of Two

I have always believed in the power of meditation. Meditation means different things to different people. Some people take lifelong courses in yoga and other techniques to earn how to meditate. Others like me, just squeeze out some quite time in a serene place for a few minutes of relaxation.

Oncology's Mindfulness-Based Meditation: Canada

April 17, 2014 1:28 PM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

One of the key activities of a laboratory is maintaining complete and comprehensive documentation of all activities carried out. Every step of the testing process -- from requisitioning tests; to specimen acquisition, labeling, handling, and storage; to specimen testing; to reporting test results -- must be documented. In addition, documentation is a key activity of laboratory management from ...

April 16, 2014 6:03 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Each morning in our laboratory, we round the wards to review charts and talk to nurses and doctors about care related to lab issues. We've been doing this for a couple of years. This year we added patient rounding.

The idea is simple: each morning we choose one or two patients and do a "check in" to say hello, introduce ourselves in the light of day, check the wristband, check any venipuncture sites, ...

April 11, 2014 2:55 PM by Eleanor Wolfram of The Power of Two

Now I have heard of everything. Just recently I read that scientists have discovered that by smelling individual's ear - or earwax to be more precise - the scent can lead you to determine their ethnicity. Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center have uncovered that depending on the race of the ear owner, the earwax's (also known by the medical term "cerumen") smell varies. In addition, ...

April 11, 2014 6:08 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

It's inevitable. Sooner or later as healthcare professionals we become patients ourselves or our family members are patients. As insiders we are invaluable observers. We know how things should work. We know what to look for. Yet our input or feedback is less valued and seldom sought, another blog.

Recently in the ED with a family member I had a chance to observe many employees, including doctors, nurses, ...

April 8, 2014 12:10 PM by Eleanor Wolfram of The Power of Two

A friend of mine, who happens to be an attorney, loves to curl his lips as he rolls the words, "litigious"  and "loophole" off his tongue. He is so cheerful when he enunciate these terms; you would think that he is preparing for a singing role in a opera. His favorite phase is, "We live in a litigious and loophole society".

Well, he is partly right ...

April 8, 2014 10:17 AM by David Plaut of David Plaut: Off the Cuff

Cardiac troponin (cTn), due to its superior clinical sensitivity and tissue specificity, has replaced cardiac enzymes, and is the biomarker of choice in making the critical diagnosis of an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). With increases in analytical, cTn has found utility in a number of other situations once ACS has been ruled out. Assessment of atrial fibrillation (AF)-associated stroke risk ...

April 7, 2014 1:36 PM by Michael Jones of ADVANCE Discourse: Lab

Type 2 diabetes has been a growing concern in the United States for several years. While the established research has pointed to two specific hormones, glucagon and insulin, as the primary factors leading to the development of the disorder in patients, researchers have discovered a third key player ...

April 7, 2014 6:01 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Our laboratory uses many "plop plop fizz fizz" tests for qualitative screening, like most labs. These quick and easy tests have been in labs as long as I can remember with a few enhancements over the years that have made them even easier e.g. internal controls. Some of them, such as our influenza test kit, haven't changed years.

When should we revisit our kits?

It's interesting to consider why ...



Since my blog last month regarding to the HHS mandate that laboratories must grant patients access to their lab results on request, my mailbox has been inundated with comments ...

April 2, 2014 6:00 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

The dictionary defines innovation as "something new or different introduced." If your culture doesn't encourage innovation but you have a great idea to improve your laboratory, what do you do?

Employees learn to resist change because they are seldom empowered to initiate change themselves. Change is imposed from ...

April 1, 2014 2:30 PM by David Plaut of David Plaut: Off the Cuff

In my last blog, I touched on some ideas and tools that are being used to build "labs on chips."  The word "nano" (1.10-9) operates significantly in this area. If you were as excited and intrigued with that blog, read on! For now, we are going to discuss "organs-on-a-chip" and even a "body-on-a-chip." Just how does one model, test and learn about the communication and control of biological systems ...

April 1, 2014 2:06 PM by Eleanor Wolfram of The Power of Two

If we truly know and accept that physical beauty is superficial and not as important as a person's intellectual, emotional and spiritual qualities, then why is the cosmetic industry a multi-billion business?

People of all ages -- preteens to geriatrics -- are consumed with smoothing out wrinkles and acquiring eyes, lips and other features similar to famed ...

April 1, 2014 1:24 PM by Nancy Alers of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

In part II of this blog, we will touch on Calibration and Quality Assurance. These two areas are among the most common areas of deficiencies and also tend to be frequently cited.

Calibration: I get it. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Calibration being missed is among the most common citations for laboratory deficiencies. Some instruments have safety features ...



I love science! I always have and I always will. So when I asked recently to be a judge at a science fair at a local college, I immediately jumped at the request.

March 28, 2014 7:50 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

A work schedule reveals how techs work together. Techs may prefer to have weekends and holidays mapped for a year or longer, may prefer certain days off, and may have different rules for swapping and volunteering. The ends justify the means, since all the shifts have to be covered.

As a manager it is very frustrating to work hard to make a schedule fair only to generate suspicion, complaining, ...

March 25, 2014 4:27 PM by Michael Jones of ADVANCE Discourse: Lab

Regenerative medicine is a field that seems like something right out of the pages of science fiction. In a recent study from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), researchers studied the effect -- and subsequent success -- of stem cells derived from human muscle tissue in repairing nerve ...

March 25, 2014 11:54 AM by David Plaut of David Plaut: Off the Cuff

This is such a fascinating and significant area of our work that I am going to devote both this and the next blog to some recent articles that discuss Lab on a Chip. [There is a journal (Lab Chip) devoted to this. In the last 6 months at PubMed, there were over 400 articles abstracted by PubMed from the key words Lab on a Chip!] Because of intensive developments in recent years, the microfluidic ...

March 24, 2014 6:13 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

In a Roseanne episode where Darlene tries to explain to Dan a bad word in front of young D.J. D.J. says, "The B word?" "Worse," says Darlene. "The F word?" "No," says Darlene. "The L word?" "What's the L word?" asks Darlene. D.J. shrugs, "I dunno. What's the F word?"

All employees know the S word.

A work schedule affects our quality of life. The hours we work, our days off, and ...

March 19, 2014 6:04 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

More times than I can count I've discovered a problem with an instrument because of an unexpected shift or trend in quality control, called tech support, and been told there isn't a problem. Recently a hematology field service tech told our techs that a shift wasn't a shift, and (basically) that none of us knew what we were looking at. He refused to do anything to the instrument, the shift persisted across all levels ...

March 18, 2014 11:35 AM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

I know that this is not the first time that I have discussed competency assessment on this blog site, but I continue to find (as a quality advisor) a lack of knowledge about  changes to the required processes;  who is qualified to perform these  and when, and the reasons why these assessments are so important.  More and more, I've seen that as technological change accelerates, ...


Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule that requires laboratories to give patients access to their lab results. 

March 14, 2014 6:12 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

At a recent lab manager meeting a group of us shared pet peeves. "What bugs me," I said, "is when someone will pop into my office and say something like, 'So-and-so went to break with so-and-so!'" They laughed but agreed this kind of complaining is common. "It's like we're back in Junior High," one of them said.

There are two interesting things happening here.

The first is that yes, in a real ...

March 10, 2014 6:04 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Managing supplies is complex. Contracts, par levels, shipping schedules, and storage issues are unique in a hospital setting, because the laboratory is largely self-contained. Your central warehouse may distribute gloves, sharps containers, and other common items, but chemistry reagents are yours to manage, for example. Added to this complexity is lot sequestration.

I've been pondering this as we approach ...



Glen McDaniel, MS, MBA, MT, CLS will encourage dialogue among clinical laboratorians, with the ultimate goal of not simply to commiserate, but to empower readers into full, rewarding practice; not simply to survive, but to thrive.

David Plaut, a chemist and statistician in Plano, TX, provides his unique perspective on hot topics within the clinical lab industry.

Join Scott Warner, MLT(ASCP), in exploring and sharing solutions. Scott's goal is to not just save time and effort but to also develop a team that discovers its own laboratory success.

The ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory editorial staff will offer personal perspectives on issues in the clinical laboratory field and current healthcare environment.

The Politics of Healthcare covers the latest developments in healthcare policy and legislation.

This staff blog focuses on good news and exciting events throughout the lab industry.

COLA experts share their field experiences, insights and suggested resources to assist laboratories achieve a culture of quality patient care.

Eleanor Wolfram, MS, uncovers the benefits and mishaps that occur when the field of clinical laboratory science is combined with other industries, such as engineering, manufacturing or technology.