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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

After the Meeting; Now What?

Published July 22, 2012 5:13 PM by Glen McDaniel

I just returned from the ASCLS/AACC joint annual meeting in Los Angeles. It was great seeing old friends and colleagues, interacting with peers and getting cutting edge information on the latest scientific and technological advances in medical laboratory sciences.

The world's largest clinical laboratory exposition showcased hundreds of international vendors; so many, in fact, that they had to be housed in two different exhibit halls. It took several hours to simply go from booth to booth.

It is always a heady experience to be in the same venue, often in the same room, with top notch scientists, many of whom you have just read about; or used their work as references. Like most other professions, we do have our own rock-stars and celebrities. As a featured speaker, I am humbled when colleagues say they feel that way about me.

Now that I am back home, I am going through my "conference bag" and arranging business cards and notes: contact this person, send requested information to that person, follow up on this topic, do more research on this subject. I am sure I am not unique in that regard.

It is easy to get all pumped up and enthusiastic at a conference; but what do you take away and what do you do differently in your everyday life and at your place of work? Conferences do provide a degree of hype and emotion, but that is short lived. The lessons learned and information gleaned should be operationalized in order to truly benefit from the experience.

What resonated most with you? Was it revenue enhancement, reducing cost, increasing productivity, alternative dispute resolution or expanding your scope of influence in the organization? Whatever it is, please do something to put it into practice. The information is too valuable and the cost of conferences is too high to simply use them for a quick, momentary high and nothing else.

I would like to hear from readers (whether you attended this meeting or not) what you learned from a medical laboratory conference and how you intend to use it in your laboratory.


I find the most useful information at the exhibits. I like to look at the foreign booths like the Japanese and see some of the things they have versus what we Americans have.

Also when I read about an instrument in a magazine or brochure I like to see the actual demo where I can touch it and see how it actually works. I have shared some of that knowledge with my manager and fellow techs when I go back to work.

At least one time I can think of a couple of years ago I was able to learn more about a hematology analyzer we were thinking of getting. Based on what I saw at ASCLS we asked the right questions about things the salesguy didnt even tell us when he visited the lab.

Ramon T. August 4, 2012 1:57 PM
Baltimore MD

This meeting was absolutely awesome.I got some good information about ethics from your talk. I am going to share the CD with my colleagues. We have  a journal club and I am going to review some of the case histories that you discussed in your talk. I can think of at least one that we will all be familiar with. After our discussion, I will reveal your suggestions and then we will see why other reactions are good or not so good. I had a great time.

Virginia Dunn July 23, 2012 9:15 PM
Austin TX

Back in the day employers paid for us to attend conferences. I remember when 2 of us could go, then it was just 1, then they paid only a part of the expense. Now they pay nothing at all. When the lab paid they used to make us share the information like in prepare an inservice for the staff or share handouts.  But now that they dont pay they cant force you to share any information you get. I still do tell me my colleagues if there is something interesting that I learn at a conference, though.

Marion Taylor, MT July 23, 2012 11:59 AM
San Diego CA

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