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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).
May 18, 2016 5:59 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

The CPT code 85004 (Blood count; automated differential WBC count) has many variations, each of which is charged instead of 85004 and including the work. These codes can be distinguished in the CPT code book, because they are indented. Examples:

  • 85007 (blood smear, microscopic examination with manual differential WBC count)
  • 85008 (blood smear, microscopic examination without manual differential ...

May 11, 2016 2:50 PM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

It appears that there is still some confusion among laboratory personnel in differentiating QC from QA, and that this uncertainty has been compounded by the introduction and implementation of the Individualized Quality Control Plan (IQCP). These are different concepts, and it is important to understand these differences-both from the practical standpoint of what you are trying to accomplish, ...

May 2, 2016 1:07 PM by Stephanie Noblit of New to the Lab

To work in the clinical laboratory profession is to be someone that upholds the highest standards of quality and patient safety, right? I think the majority of my colleagues would agree with that.

Working in our profession, we do have the ability to say honestly that we save lives every day, but ...

May 2, 2016 6:36 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

What is true for big labs eventually becomes true for small labs, mostly because volume discounts drive affordability. This is most recently true for PCR, a technology that has arrived in small laboratories for two platforms, the Meridian Illumigene ...


It's that time of year again, when we celebrate and acknowledge Medical Laboratory Professionals (technicians, scientists, specialists, pathologists and others).

I receive a lot of email and read several misleading posts about "Lab Week." So I am essentially reprinting a primer to share with colleagues. 

The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) website has a very ...

April 21, 2016 3:15 PM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

One of the phrases I hear lately is "we need to move the needle," meaning enough effort has to be put into change to not just make it stick, but change what matters. This might be customer satisfaction scores, test volumes, or cost containment.

If there's one thing that change has taught me, it's that no matter how much things change they seem to stay the same. The needle almost never moves.

I've ...

April 15, 2016 10:48 AM by Lindsey Nolen of ADVANCE Discourse: Lab

Playing an influential role in appearance throughout American society, the value aging adults place on deterring hair grayness remains great. Although the dyeing of hair color can mask this sign of aging, the potential for a scientific cure for this phenomenon has never before been presented - until now.

In an international study led by University College ...

April 13, 2016 4:59 PM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

One of the oft-quoted nuggets in The Elements of Style is "omit needless words." I've seen this rule praised and criticized with equal fervor. As a writer, pruning and trimming prose seems like a necessary path to clarity for the reader. It is also intensely personal and driven by one's own style. But in general, it's a good rule of thumb. If it takes 4 words to say the same thing in 15, use 4. (Have politicians ...

April 11, 2016 1:06 PM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

When we discuss all the changes that laboratories have to deal with-from technical and regulatory to evolving views of healthcare delivery and service expectations-we must include how these affect customer service. Customer service is involved in every phase of the laboratory operation; it is the face of the laboratory and, thus, reflects everything that is happening.

Specifically, ...

April 4, 2016 4:53 PM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

The laboratory is a unique clinical department. The possible tests and their associated billable codes that are routinely ordered day in and day out can number in the thousands or even tens of thousands. The big moving target is referral lab testing, which may change according to where it is forwarded, reflex testing, or method changes. I spend a significant amount of time comparing bills to the charge master. If ...

April 4, 2016 8:29 AM by Stephanie Noblit of New to the Lab

It's April, which means Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (MLPW) is right around the corner. This year, MLPW'16 falls on April 24-30. Laboratorians look forward to lab week each year like a young child looks forward to Christmas morning. Lab week is a time of celebration, games and free food. ...


As our profession ages and many of us lumber towards retirement, it is often hard to be optimistic. Many are burnt out and never miss an opportunity to tell those just entering the profession what a mistake they are making.

March 25, 2016 6:40 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Urinalysis is one of the simpler screening tests laboratories perform. Modern dipstick readers have standardized and simplified the chemical analysis of urine. But what about the microscopic? Shouldn't that also be simplified?

Beckman Coulter and Sysmex offer instrumentation that performs cell counting. For many if not most labs, urine sediment is examined under light microscopy. White and red blood cells ...


A few months ago the physician group American Osteopathic Association (AOA) which represents osteopathic physicians (they use the credential DO instead of MD) embarked on a branding campaign for their profession.

March 18, 2016 10:49 AM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

We are rapidly approaching Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, (MLPW), the annual celebration of the medical laboratory profession, and those who play such a vital role in the delivery of quality healthcare. It has been celebrated annually since 1975, during the last full week of April, and ...

March 16, 2016 6:38 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

A nursing paradigm has been the "working manager," a nurse who also works the floors and pitches in when needed. This model has been used in ancillary departments such as radiology and respiratory therapy. It makes sense to have a manager with first hand knowledge of the day to day workflow.

I don't know how common this is in laboratories, but I suspect not very. It seems odd in a small hospital laboratory ...

March 7, 2016 2:52 PM by Michael Jones of ADVANCE Discourse: Lab

[Editor's Note: This blog was originally contributed by ADVANCE staffer Valerie Neff Newitt.]

Major news organizations have been quick to examine and critique the policy, and have noted that requests for further details from Trump headquarters have so far gone unanswered.

The Los Angeles Times reported March 3 that, ...

March 7, 2016 5:59 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

The Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal 2 is to improve communication. For a laboratory, this means reporting critical results on a timely basis. Labs have to define critical results, by whom and to whom they are reported, and an acceptable length of time between "availability" and reporting.

Have computers ...

March 4, 2016 1:52 PM by Michael Jones of ADVANCE Discourse: Lab

[Editor's Note: This blog was originally contributed by ADVANCE staffer Valerie Neff Newitt.]

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump wants to dump Obamacare on day one of his intended presidential administration. It is one strategy, he says, to "make America great again." On March 2, Trump released his 7-point plan to repeal the Affordable Care ...

February 29, 2016 11:20 AM by Stephanie Noblit of New to the Lab

The next time you are in a doctor's office or hospital for an appointment for either yourself or a loved one, think about this:  What would you do if the appointment room you were in was filthy?  How would that make you feel?  Would you still be comfortable having the doctor see you with the trash in the room overflowing and dirty floors and counters?  What about if the air ...

February 26, 2016 11:48 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

A lab tech's job is very linear. Requisitions arrive, specimens are collected that match the tests that are checked off, the work is done, the tests are reported. We know what docs want. Right?

For the most part, yes. Most docs - especially younger ones - are not afraid to order lab tests. Many docs have favorite tests or favorite referral labs. But the sheer volume and variety of referral and esoteric testing ...

February 22, 2016 11:52 AM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

The importance of properly managing inventory so that supplies for all phases of testing in your laboratory are available, accessible and in-date is critical, not only for providing quality patient care, but for the fiscal solvency, operational efficiency, customer service and staff morale of the laboratory.

The goals of any inventory control system should ...


Clinical laboratorians sometimes complain, "Well, they didn't ask the lab!"  As someone who has held administrative positions outside the laboratory, I noticed very quickly that the lab was not present at the table for many decisions.  Having come from the lab, I was not totally surprised.

What really shocked ...

February 19, 2016 1:13 PM by Stephanie Noblit of New to the Lab

Getting people to volunteer for something is like pulling teeth. Whether it's a task at work or a leadership role in a professional organization, the process of looking for volunteers usually follows the same story. No one steps up and, eventually, the person that always ends up volunteering-either because they willingly want to or they just cave into the pressure-agrees ...

February 18, 2016 6:29 PM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

According to one site, 1 in 40 adults (about 2.3% of the US population) suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. While it's a serious condition that can be treated and is no laughing matter, I can't help musing if the percentage of lab techs with OCD is higher. Most techs I've known joke about OCD, because the field requires a lot of learned behaviors ...



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.

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 Laboratory editorial staff will offer personal perspectives on issues in the clinical laboratory field and current healthcare environment.

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

Perspectives from young medical laboratory professionals