Expo 2011: Recap of Today's Highlights
The AACC annual meeting wrapped up today with record traffic going through the exhibit hall. At 9 a.m. as exhibitors and poster presenters slipped in through a side door to get set up, a line formed outside the hall as anxious attendees waited to be allowed into the exhibit.
Scientific offerings at AACC today were as strong as ever, and many could be heard discussing how impressed they were with the variety and quality of sessions this year. Some individuals also commented on the southern hospitality of staff-from servers in the eateries to the strategically-placed convention hall employees answering questions and providing directions.
Plenary session. The ASCLS plenary session titled "Improving Clinical and Therapeutic Outcomes for Respiratory Viral Infection Using Multiplex PCR" was delivered by Dr. Kimberle Chapin from Brown Medical School. As heavy as that topic sounds, the session -- streamed live on the web -- was very interesting and garnered lots of questions from the live audience as well as several via the 'net.
Dr. Chapin described her experience with instituting molecular testing of samples for respiratory viruses and the dramatic positive effect of that change on patient outcomes.
In booth presentation. Beckman Coulter kicked off their day with an in-booth presentation, "The Laboratory’s Role in the Doctor/Patient Relationship." Author-attorney John Anderson spoke from his perspective as a healthcare consumer and a caretaker of four important women in his life who all had breast cancer.
His story was made into a movie and he has been giving speeches on the important role of patient/doctor relationships in healthcare. He realized only very recently that the lab played such a huge role in healthcare. In his words, he used to think the lab was simply "a big black hole with lots of machines going, and somehow results magically came back to the doctor who made the decisions." He admitted to only very recently meeting laboratorians and leaning the vital work they do. He now promises to be a strong laboratory advocate and PR person.
Midday Sessions. Twelve sessions were presented in a lunch-and-learn format. One informal and very informative presentation was that offered by Matthew T. Patton, Editor of ADVANCE for Medical Laboratory Professionals. In his talk, "Promoting the Profession: Getting on the Air, on the Tube, or in the Paper," Patton gave a primer on how to get information in front of the public. He covered important aspects like formulating a topic, pitching an idea to an editor to proofreading and providing current, solid references.
He also encouraged participants to write about familiar topics that they knew and cared about, and emphasized the importance of just “sitting down and getting started.”
Others. Dr. Lynne Williams covered the biology of platelet activation and compared the different modes of action of common antiplatelet agents.
In a session on “Blood Utilization Management,” Rick Panning and Dr. Lauren Anthony (dually qualified as an MD and MLS) shared their experience with instituting a successful program for judicious blood utilization at the Allina Hospital and Clinics in Minnesota.
One of the last sessions of the day was “HIV Screening: New Assays, New Algorithms and Better Patient Care,” by Ginger Weeden. She recapped the history of the HIV epidemic and development of HIV tests. She also provided information on the relative incidence of HIV 1 and 2 in different populations based on geography and the mode of transmission. The new testing algorithm and the idea of universal “opt-out” testing garnered a lively discussion.