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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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Smartphone Infections
November 7, 2014 6:01 AM by Scott Warner
Do you remember other kids eating dirt when you were young? It was commonplace to make mud pies, jump in puddles, and put tadpoles in pockets. We all played outside in dirt and grime, bit fingernails, ate baloney and cheese sandwiches without hand washing, Read More...
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IG# and Sepsis
October 10, 2014 6:15 AM by Scott Warner
Our current hematology analyzer was a big step up from a Sysmex K4500 with a 3-part differential to a Sysmex XT-1800i with a 5-part differential. I remember arranging a conference call between the bean counters and the pathologist to explain why the difference 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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Virtual Keystrokes
September 26, 2014 6:00 AM by Scott Warner
In my last blog I said computers are stupidly reliable. They do whatever they are told, over and over. And they don’t get bored or make mistakes. It’s easy, for example, to create little programs that send keystrokes to applications. I use a freeware Read More...
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Computers are Stupid
September 22, 2014 6:00 AM by Scott Warner
Back in the day we imagined computers were smart. In a 1964 Twilight Zone episode called “The Brain Center at Whipples,” a CEO who heartlessly replaces workers with robots is himself replaced by Robby The Robot from the 1956 classic Forbidden Planet . Read More...
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Using SDI
August 15, 2014 6:01 AM by Scott Warner
Standard deviation index (SDI) measures bias using simple, easy to understand criteria. I also like this for daily quality control, because it works on all levels. Here’s the calculation: SDI = (Value - Target Mean) / Standard Deviation Thus, a glucose Read More...
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Market Your Computer Skills
August 1, 2014 6:00 AM by Scott Warner
While working out I listen to short articles using an Android app called Umano. Many of the articles I hear claim that we have a lack of people who can write computer programs. Indeed, last year President Obama endorsed an “Hour of Code” during Computer Read More...
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Rarely Ordered But Critical Tests
July 23, 2014 6:05 AM by Scott Warner
The bread and butter of labs are those tests ordered on most patients: chemistry panels, blood counts, urinalysis and culture, and to an extent coagulation and blood bank. These are often ordered serially on patients admitted to your hospital, creating Read More...
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Working in the Cloud
July 18, 2014 3:36 PM by Scott Warner
I blogged about “the cloud” in 2010: “If you’re using any applications that run in your web browser over the Internet, you’re using cloud computing.” While our hospital still uses aging Microsoft Office software and local storage the world has moved up. Read More...
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Keyboard Ergonomics
July 9, 2014 11:46 AM by Scott Warner
What started out attached to a desktop personal computer is everywhere. Keyboards are attached to computer terminals, COWs (Computers on Wheels), and many instruments. Yet little has changed in their design (more about that below). They are big, bulky, Read More...
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A Better Marker for DKA
June 25, 2014 6:04 AM by Scott Warner
The nitroprusside test typically performed with a Bayer Acetest tablet is a laboratory classic. It’s one of the first tests I learned. In the nitroprusside reaction, acetoacetic acid, a serum or urine ketone, reacts with sodium nitroferricyanide and glycine Read More...
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Better Counting
June 20, 2014 6:11 AM by Scott Warner
We do a lot of counting in the laboratory: white blood cells, abnormal red cells, urine formed elements, and microbiology colony counts. I’ve worked in labs where these are precise, for example, reporting urine microscopic red cells as rare, few, 0-1, Read More...
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A Better Blood Bank History
June 2, 2014 6:09 AM by Scott Warner
Blood bank is a dangerous department. Giving a patient the wrong unit of red cells can be fatal, something all techs who work in blood bank worry about. I’ve seen this happen once in my career. Truth is we don’t know how often this really happens, since Read More...
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About this Blog


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