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Micro Around the Clock
April 20, 2015 7:13 AM by Scott Warner
“Use it or lose it” is true in exercise, neuroscience, and our work lives. If a small laboratory doesn’t use its micro department to its fullest, it could lose it. In my last blog I described how cultures are processed for the convenience of the laboratory, Read More...
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When Do You Do Micro?
April 15, 2015 8:19 AM by Scott Warner
If your small laboratory still performs microbiology testing in house, competency and competition present stiff challenges. If only a few people on your staff do micro identification and susceptibility testing, that leaves a staffing gap you’re forced Read More...
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Math is Hard at 3 AM
April 6, 2015 6:04 AM by Scott Warner
I became comfortable working up body fluids when I worked in a hospital with two pediatricians and several orthopedists on the medical staff. Every few days (it seemed) we received a septic joint fluid, synovial fluid for crystal analysis, or a septic Read More...
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Economies of Scale
March 27, 2015 6:39 AM by Scott Warner
Are we seeing the last gasps of community hospital laboratories? Sometimes I wonder. A 2007 article in Clinical Chemistry states , “Many laboratories already outsource esoteric tests to other (reference) laboratories, but outsourcing should also be considered Read More...
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Populations and Pathogens
March 18, 2015 6:01 AM by Scott Warner
The American Academy of Microbiology website states , “The human microbiome, the collection of trillions of microbes living in and on the human body, is not random, and scientists believe that it plays a role in many basic life processes.” Our gut flora Read More...
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RSV Season
March 13, 2015 6:06 AM by Scott Warner
There’s been a lot of paranoia about influenza, much of it justified. The 1918 pandemic killed as many as 30-50 million people worldwide, and 675,000 in the US. We don’t know for sure. But in an average non-pandemic year influenza kills between 3-49 thousand Read More...
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When Should You Upgrade?
March 9, 2015 2:13 PM by Scott Warner
Your laboratory is probably a mix of old and new technology. You may have refrigerators decades old, small centrifuges that were purchased used and still run strong, a coagulation analyzer at the end of its five year contract, and a chemistry analyzer Read More...
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Thinking About Rainbows
February 18, 2015 9:40 AM by Scott Warner
Hospital acquired anemia can be an issue if multiple tubes are collected several times a day. Over time, small amounts of blood (5 mL is a teaspoon) add up. I’ve developed a “short draw” protocol to use low volume tubes and chart the amount drawn for Read More...
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Do You Look At Charts?
February 4, 2015 5:45 AM by Scott Warner
When I blogged about looking at inpatient charts in 2012, we had implemented CPOE (Computerized Physician Order Entry) to a limited degree. Now that it’s commonplace and there are few written physician orders, it’s still useful to look at charts. Each Read More...
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The Old and the New
January 12, 2015 6:03 AM by Scott Warner
Many years ago when I was taught to run a Monospot, I was instructed in the fine art of rotating the card in a figure 8. The goal was to equally rotate the mixtures in all circles while scanning for agglutination. But in case that was too difficult, vendors Read More...
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Does It Matter What It Is?
January 7, 2015 6:03 AM by Scott Warner
As a profession, we are used to having the answers: glucose values, compatible units of blood, pathogens in a urine culture. As simple as this seems to outsiders who see lab techs as mere button pushers, we know there is a lot of judgment involved. In Read More...
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Order Entry Errors
December 19, 2014 6:04 AM by Scott Warner
One of our more common complaints is that we didn’t do the correct test. We missed a test because it was not seen, illegible, or written on the back of a two-sided form; we assumed an abbreviation meant something unintended by the physician; we entered Read More...
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Microhematuria
December 15, 2014 6:03 AM by Scott Warner
Hematuria, or blood in the urine, is distinct from microhematuria . The latter isn’t visible to the naked eye and is detected under the microscope. (The prefix micro is from the Greek mikros , meaning “small.”) It isn’t unusual in urinalysis to see a Read More...
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Do Disclaimers Add Value?
November 12, 2014 6:44 AM by Scott Warner
Our tendency to comment results with disclaimers is strong. Examples: Reporting pathogens in a urine culture with many skin flora and adding “possible contamination” Reporting a potassium on a hemolyzed sample and adding “hemolysis may increase results” Read More...
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More Sample Lookback
October 1, 2014 6:00 AM by Scott Warner
In 2011 I blogged about using a binary search algorithm to find a point of failure when performing a sample lookback with a large number of samples. In dealing with sample lookback and revising our own policies since then, we’ve hit a few snags: How should Read More...
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About this Blog


    Scott Warner, MLT(ASCP)
    Occupation: Laboratory Manager
    Setting: Critical Access Hospital
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