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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).
February 5, 2016 5:33 PM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Do older techs hate change? It's a cliche that an old dog can't be taught new tricks. When someone is "resistant to change," ageism inevitably follows. "She's old and close to retirement," I'll hear. Conversely, young people are assumed to be champions of change, malleable, and willing.

All of which may be true to an extent, but adopting such a view dismisses experience as a variable. The reason "older" ...

February 5, 2016 10:50 AM by Stephanie Noblit of New to the Lab

What does it mean to be good at your job? Does it mean that you work quickly or make few mistakes? Or does it mean that you're a good problem solver or a team player? Whatever you or your manager's description of a good employee entails, chances are you would like to be one.

While there are people out there simply working for the paycheck, I think that ...


Well today is my birthday and it's making me a little retrospective. As you all know I am not about making big resolutions based on the day or date; such as New Year's. However I did think back over my professional life today: what I have done, what impact I have made on the profession and what I would do differently, given a second chance. Then an unrelated conversation with a friend who is a ...

January 29, 2016 11:42 AM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

Last September, the FBI issued a warning that devices and objects that connect to the internet to send and receive data are vulnerable to cyber-attack. While this warning referenced many popular lifestyle devices such as smart phones and wearable fitness monitors, it also included devices common to laboratories and other businesses, such as printers, security systems and even thermostats.

January 27, 2016 6:41 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

In my last blog, I described how to create a table in a database that stores blood bank index card file information. At a minimum, this should contain the patient name, date of birth, and a checkbox to indicate if the patient has antibodies. That's the easy part, and it can be done in a few minutes.

The other features of OpenOffice (and Access) are creating Queries (search filters), Reports (to print or ...

January 18, 2016 6:52 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

In building a blood bank cardfile mirror, the main element is the database table. A table is a collection of records that stores data in fields. In the case of OpenOffice Base, when you open the program (called Database in the OpenOffice main menu) a dialogue asks if you want to create or open a database. Then the screen ...

January 15, 2016 9:58 AM by Stephanie Noblit of New to the Lab

When a co-worker leaves the lab for whatever reason, you lose more than just a person capable of doing the job. You lose a personality, an attitude and a perspective. The lab hierarchy shifts, and lab practices are altered. Schedules are changed, workloads are adjusted and tasks are delegated to others.

When ...

January 13, 2016 6:36 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

The concept of a database is simple: data is stored in tables and linked together. Once the data is stored in a table of fields you design, you can do anything with it. You can sort, print, or filter it.

The problem of a blood bank card file mirror may sound trivial, but the impact can be significant. If, for instance, 5% of 5000 cards are misfiled, that means 250 cards are not exactly where they should ...

January 11, 2016 11:35 AM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

Today, we continue with our discussion of commonly misused terms in healthcare information technology (IT). The recent and rapid development of this technology, as well as the evolving applications of these same terms, opens up the possibility of misinterpreted use. It's important to ensure that we are all on "the same page" when using these terms for the sake of accurate communication and ...

January 8, 2016 6:23 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

There are many kinds of software licenses, some more restrictive than others. If your hospital uses Microsoft Office, for example, a certain number of licenses has been purchased to match the number of workstations the software can be installed on. Typically, the cost of these volume licensing agreements are customized to the type of organization, number of users, and infrastructure, and it isn't cheap. These days, ...

January 6, 2016 6:00 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Each new year brings change after a season of excess. At home it's time to hit the gym, dust off the exercise bike, and put the juicer back on the kitchen counter. At work it's time to bundle up 2015, discard old records, and think about planning vacations for the year. Perhaps, you have resolved to mend relationships, forge new ones, or rekindle old ones. A new year is a fresh start.

List makers (and you ...

January 4, 2016 10:23 AM by Lindsey Nolen of ADVANCE Discourse: Lab

In other research, scientists have found that eating up to two bars of chocolate a day can also help prevent stroke. In a study at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, researchers analyzed the snacking habits of 21,000 people older than 12 and found that the odds of experiencing a stroke fell by 23% in patients who consumed up to 100 g of chocolate-the equivalent of about two classic Hershey's ...

January 4, 2016 6:04 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

No one like confrontation. I get it. We come to work, we do our work, we have pleasant conversation with co-workers, and we go home. But of course it isn't that easy. Even Gilligan's Island wasn't that easy.

Confrontation is necessary because unspoken rules are often broken: a coworker takes a too-long lunch; a coworker leaves work for others to complete; a coworker doesn't play by the rules and appears ...


It's that time of year again. I could hardly believe it when I was leaving work today and someone made the inevitable never-stale comment, "Well, I wont see you until next year." Today is really the last day of a very interesting  and eventful year.

Starting today and into the next few days, many will be laboring over

December 24, 2015 6:05 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

"Our dilemma," said the American journalist Sydney Harris, "is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better." Ain't that the truth.

The holiday season is a time for loved ones to gather, and it's a time to reflect on the year. Was it easy or hard? Static or full of change? Did it get better?

Healthcare is changing, with a ...


Theranos has been in the news and has garnered both bouquets and brickbats because of its proprietary technology as well as its business model.

This company started by wunderkind Elizabeth Holmes and valued in the billions uses small samples of blood (often from a fingerstick) and runs tests on its own proprietary instrument. ...

December 21, 2015 10:44 AM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

I recently read an interesting article1 in Health IT and CIO Review that discussed commonly misused IT terms in the healthcare profession. The fact that these terms are misused so frequently is not solely due to misunderstanding or unfamiliarity; it reflects how new the field of healthcare IT is and how the meaning and interpretation of this terminology continues to evolve ...

December 21, 2015 6:05 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

We are living in weird times. Our schools label any form of visible aggression as "bullying," forcing natural behavior to go underground where lessons cannot be taught by elders. Workplaces are filled with buzzwords such as empowerment, team building, and consensus, but without rules of engagement there is no room for healthy disagreement. Without disagreement, there is no understanding and no growth. Are we simply ...

December 16, 2015 6:01 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

Charge masters are unruly beasts that must be tamed to ensure we get paid. How labs do this varies with each information system and who has access to what. These days, a laboratory manager has to either understand databases and Excel or have someone on staff who does. It's one of those problems that IT can't solve.

Most hospitals have their charge masters periodically reviewed by an outside firm, which is ...

December 14, 2015 12:28 PM by Stephanie Noblit of New to the Lab

"Do I need to call back this critical result on that monkey?"

That was something I never thought I would say working in a lab. Most of us working in the clinical lab only deal with human patient samples, but where I work not all the samples in an assay run are necessarily from the same species.

In our toxicology lab, ...

December 11, 2015 6:01 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

The conundrum of Rh confounds many a blood banker. Since its discovery nearly 80 years ago, our understanding and treatment of Rh types have evolved. Here are a few common problems that I encounter:

  • Weak D. A weak D recipient is considered Rh Neg. A recipient who has a weak (or partial) expression of the D antigen can theoretically be sensitized to D. But as a donor this person is considered an Rh ...

December 7, 2015 8:23 AM by Irwin Rothenberg of CRI Lab Quality Advisor

We all understand how important good management is to the overall success of a laboratory in providing quality patient care, but the defining components of quality care are not static. Whether we are discussing test accuracy, turnaround time, specimen acquisition or result reporting, the technologies, regulations, compensation and treatment protocols are constantly changing.These have been characterized ...

December 7, 2015 6:00 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

A year ago CMS issued a memorandum about "off-label" use of waived blood glucose monitoring systems, typically used by nurses and other non-laboratory workers in a variety of hospital settings.

"Using a test outside of ...

December 2, 2015 9:36 AM by Lindsey Nolen of ADVANCE Discourse: Lab

It's officially the time of year when all types of treats begin to fill tables at holiday celebrations, office parties and family gatherings. While conventional wisdom holds that desserts can be detrimental to a person's overall health, recent studies have reported some sweeter findings-perhaps justifying that extra piece of chocolate this holiday season.

Medical ...

December 2, 2015 5:56 AM by Scott Warner of Stepwise Success

An "us versus them" attitude is common in all workplaces. Lab techs don't understand nurses or nurses don't understand lab techs. I've heard techs whine many times over the years, "If only the nurses could come down here and watch what we do for a day." Never once have I seen a tech volunteer to do what a nurse does.

But the same attitude can exist in the lab between techs and phlebotomists. "It's too complicated ...



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