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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).

Science never stands still. I am particularly interested in the merging of technologies in the new era of the logarithmic growth of technology. For many decades science was fairly plodding and sometimes even static as research followed certain set rules and required a certain rigor to be considered credible and acceptable.

Scientists, engineers and even social scientists are joining forces to ...

October 21, 2016 3:19 PM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

A catch-all for errors is to blame them on "human error." Human error is seen as inevitable, unpredictable, and common to us all. We forget, get distracted, make judgment errors, draw false conclusions, overlook the obvious, and make other mistakes. It's curious that something so universal seems to be so mysterious. In effect we end up taking it for granted that human errors will always happen.

One source ...

October 17, 2016 11:14 AM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

One of the key areas of laboratory-to-physician communication is the reporting of critical values. Since regulators and accreditation organizations define critical values as abnormal test results that are potentially life-threatening and require a rapid response from caregivers, any steps taken to improve this process impacts the quality of patient care. This not only refers to the ...

October 10, 2016 3:43 PM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Most people are aware of the difference between hearing and listening. And as we know, most of the time we pretend to listen while we're thinking of the next thing we're going to say. Listening can be hard work, because it requires focus. It is an essential skill for leaders but also for anyone who wants to be successful.

The web site Skills You Need has

September 30, 2016 3:59 PM by Michael Jones of ADVANCE Discourse: Lab

[Editor's Note: This article was contributed by Allison Hydzik at UPMC.]

According to a recent study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and School of Medicine, middle-aged African American women have higher levels of a protein in their blood, which has been associated as a predictor of heart disease, than their ...

September 28, 2016 3:32 PM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Here's a reality check: if we don't get paid, the doors don't stay open. Sure, that's the problem of the billing office, collection agencies, and insurance companies. Bench techs don't need to worry about that stuff. Right?

Depends on who you ask, I guess. It's the manager's responsibility to bill accurately and timely for each test performed, and that includes reflex charges (in-house and referral), supplemental ...

September 21, 2016 2:57 PM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

In a medical office setting, the general office staff is often part of the de facto laboratory operation due to their responsibilities related to initially seeing and communicating with patients. This includes the intake and update of patient information, test ordering, specimen acquisition, labeling and initial handling, as well as post-analytic patient contact and data access. The importance ...

September 9, 2016 6:06 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Low morale, to paraphrase Justice Stewart, can be hard to define but we all know it when we see it. But unhappy employees, obvious or not, who are overstressed and overworked can cause a lot of problems: increased absenteeism, short tempers, poor customer services, and more. A workplace where few people smile is a miserable experience on both sides of the counter.

For laboratories, as

August 31, 2016 4:23 PM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

The impact of Millennials' interpretations and expectations of quality service from the healthcare profession in general-and laboratories in particular-continues to grow with each passing year. Now the largest generation demographically, Millennials are coming of age and gradually assuming their rightful place as both mass consumers and providers of healthcare services. Quality service has always ...

August 30, 2016 7:19 PM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

As promised, here is an example AutoIt script:

; NotepadMemo.au3 - example using AutoIt

#include <MsgBoxConstants.au3>
#include <Date.au3>
Local $sTo
Local $sSubject

If WinExists("Untitled - Notepad") Then
   $sTo = InputBox("Memo", "To:", "All Staff")
   $sSubject = InputBox("Memo", "Memo Subject:")
   WinActivate("Untitled ...


 There is always so much to be done. Today's society is so fast-moving that it's hard to accomplish every single thing on a day's agenda. Working in the laboratory, we know that emergencies happen, stats keep ...

August 24, 2016 3:49 PM by Stephanie Noblit of New to the Lab

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the importance of professional organizations on lab social media pages in response to CMS saying that nurses can perform high complexity tests. It seems to me that there is a lot of confusion about how professional organizations work. People are concerned that nurses will always out lobby us on issues and as of right now that is a possibility, but the ...

August 19, 2016 2:28 PM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

For those of you who like to tinker with programs, who remember typing BASIC programs from magazines in the early Eighties, and a few of you who understand programming, AutoIt will be fun. For the rest of you, it won't be nearly as difficult as you might think.

The benefits are enormous: speed and accuracy. A computer does exactly what you tell it to do, and telling it doesn't get much simpler than

August 9, 2016 6:01 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

If your lab is like most, you have one or maybe two IT geeks who like computers enough to figure out how your information system works. To everyone else it's a means to an end at best or an irritant at worst. How tests are built and maintained is way off the radar of most people.

Partly, that's because of the hidden nature of most software. A GUI (Graphical User Interface) is designed to keep it that way, ...


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ...

July 29, 2016 6:09 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Change is constant, especially in laboratory medicine. Monoclonal antibody assays changed latex agglutination kits; discrete random-assay analyzers changed batch testing; point of care instruments are refocusing core laboratory testing. These days, leaving the field for more than a few years almost guarantees learning some areas all over again. New technology is one of the more exciting aspects of our field.

Lately ...

July 15, 2016 6:20 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

For an industry that is frequently at the forefront of new technology in healthcare, laboratory workers can be among the most resistant to change. Computers coexist with paper; manual diffs are still done when automated counts are far superior; point of care technology is disdained as inferior to central lab testing.

But point of care testing is coming into its own. Indeed, as hinted at in a recent Advance ...

July 14, 2016 6:56 PM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless, non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields that transfer data for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags containing electronically stored information attached to objects. An RFID system has two basic components: a reader and one or more uniquely identifiable tags. The reader can wirelessly interact with ...

July 5, 2016 1:52 PM by Stephanie Noblit of New to the Lab

I just found out recently that Jennifer Lawrence will play Elizabeth Holmes in a movie about Theranos.1  Now, I love Jennifer Lawrence and think she is a tremendous actress, but does a movie about Theranos really need to be made? In reality, we don't even know how this drama is going to play out, so what could possibly be written up in a script? 

The ...

July 1, 2016 6:20 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

These days it's all about change. I have heard a constant drumbeat for the last thirty years that change is the only constant we can count on. The only thing more constant than change is the need to cut costs. Now that laboratories are becoming cost centers in small hospitals and groups are recognizing the economies of scale in centralizing testing and developing formularies to cut costs, those two are intertwined.

In ...



I know our profession is unique and cannot be identically modeled off any other profession. However in both my personal and professional lives I often try to learn lessons ...

June 22, 2016 2:21 PM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

Two powerful forces have converged to change the practice of laboratory medicine in ways never imagined a generation ago. These twin forces are the movement to value-based healthcare from the fee-for-service model and the rapid development of mobile technology, allowing for continuous healthcare monitoring of patients beyond the clinical setting.

The central ...

June 18, 2016 6:40 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Laboratories add comments to reports, some of which are informative e.g. CRITICAL VALUE REPEATED and others that are interpretive e.g. explaining the meaning and utility of the MDRD estimated GFR equation. It is the latter that brought me to this current question.

Most doctors have little or no idea how results are generated. I think they assume that professional, trained staff under the supervision of ...

May 31, 2016 6:41 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

These days it's all about shortages. Shortages of techs, shortages of patients, and shortages of money. In small hospitals there are fewer of us working with fewer patients for less money. Those who are working are older than the average worker, are wondering who is replacing them, and are tired of hearing about doing more with less when new technology requires people to test, validate, and perform the assays. This ...


A few months ago I went to the doctor with a friend.  The nice young lady taking my friend's vitals and medical history introduced herself as "Dr. O's nurse". I noticed her name badge read "RMA"- registered medical assistant. She was professional, ...



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