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Is PCR Ready for Small Labs?
May 2, 2016 6:36 AM by Scott Warner
What is true for big labs eventually becomes true for small labs, mostly because volume discounts drive affordability. This is most recently true for PCR, a technology that has arrived in small laboratories for two platforms, the Meridian Illumigene and Read More...
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Limit Input
April 13, 2016 4:59 PM by Scott Warner
One of the oft-quoted nuggets in The Elements of Style is “omit needless words.” I’ve seen this rule praised and criticized with equal fervor. As a writer, pruning and trimming prose seems like a necessary path to clarity for the reader. It is also intensely Read More...
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Simplify Urinalysis
March 25, 2016 6:40 AM by Scott Warner
Urinalysis is one of the simpler screening tests laboratories perform. Modern dipstick readers have standardized and simplified the chemical analysis of urine. But what about the microscopic? Shouldn’t that also be simplified? Beckman Coulter and Sysmex Read More...
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Know What Docs Want
February 26, 2016 11:48 AM by Scott Warner
A lab tech’s job is very linear. Requisitions arrive, specimens are collected that match the tests that are checked off, the work is done, the tests are reported. We know what docs want. Right? For the most part, yes. Most docs - especially younger ones Read More...
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The Rh Conundrum
December 11, 2015 6:01 AM by Scott Warner
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 Read More...
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Do You Still Use a STAT List?
November 27, 2015 12:45 PM by Scott Warner
A STAT list is a relic of a time when it was common for labs to have call, labor intensive tests, and batch testing. If your lab has any of these, you may also have a STAT list. It’s a list of tests that your lab performs STAT, and anything not on the Read More...
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Old Methods
November 23, 2015 6:04 AM by Scott Warner
How many old methods are being performed in your laboratory? Old technology gives way to new at varying rates. Examples of “old” technology include Westergren sedimentation rate, Miller disc reticulocyte estimates, and bleeding times. These and others Read More...
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Make or Buy?
November 4, 2015 6:00 AM by Scott Warner
The website Investopedia defines “Make-or-Buy Decision” as “The act of choosing between manufacturing a product in-house or purchasing it from an external supplier. In a make-or-buy decision, the two most important factors to consider are cost as availability Read More...
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Sensitivity and Specificity
October 2, 2015 7:08 AM by Scott Warner
I hope I’m not the only one who gets confused about sensitivity and specificity. Every now and then I have to rethink this. Sensitivity defines the true positive rate, or the number of people correctly identified as having a disease. A highly sensitive Read More...
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Arbitrary Rules
August 7, 2015 6:44 AM by Scott Warner
Since the laboratory is a mystery to many in your organization, it’s a good idea to use any arbitrary rules as teachable moments. You might be surprised how many of these exist. Specimen labeling rules Specimen rejection rules Wristband protocols Compatible Read More...
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Faster Troponins
July 24, 2015 6:16 AM by Scott Warner
At a meeting our QI director at that time pulled out a folder and told me, “These are your troponin turnaround times.” It showed hardly any times under 60 minutes, an industry consensus. Most of the times were over 90 minutes. When I returned to the laboratory Read More...
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Catalase Oddities
July 6, 2015 6:34 AM by Scott Warner
Catalase is an enzyme present in many living cells responsible for breaking down hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 ) into water (H 2 O) and oxygen (O 2 ). It prevents peroxide, a byproduct of many reactions, from damaging cells. Catalase is also used in food Read More...
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Correcting Corrective Action
May 18, 2015 6:03 AM by Scott Warner
Lab techs typically think of “corrective action” as it relates to quality control. A QC point is out, the tech checks reagent levels, finds out the reagent level in the well is low, puts on fresh reagent, and repeats the controls. But was this really Read More...
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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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About this Blog


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