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  • Controlling Specimen Identification Errors: A Quiz

    It is a well-known fact by now that most laboratory errors occur in the pre- and post-analytic phases of testing and that these errors can have a significant impact on patient care. Often, these activities do not occur within the physical confines of the laboratory, but in other locations—often by personnel not directly managed by the ...
    Posted to CRI Lab Quality Advisor (Weblog) on October 26, 2015
  • Adding New Staff to an Old Team

    Sometimes, you have the good fortune to find qualified staff within a short time to replace those who have left, minimizing the disruption to your daily routine. More often than not, it takes a while to find the “right” person for your lab. In the meantime, the remaining techs have to take on extra shifts, work in other specialties or take on ...
    Posted to CRI Lab Quality Advisor (Weblog) on October 6, 2015
  • Economies of Scale

    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 for non-esoteric tests (6). The motivation to outsource should be that a specific test can ...
    Posted to Stepwise Success (Weblog) on March 27, 2015
  • Should Every Laboratory “Clinical Problem” be Handled by a Pathologist?

      It seems that experiences always occur in groups. Recently I had 3 separate but similar experiences that made me decide to write this blog.   Laboratorians on an online forum were discussing recent issues that their particular labs faced with nursing, such as specimen draws above an IV, many hemolyzed specimens, abuse of ...
  • Why Culture?

    Microbiology techs are like detectives where the motive for a crime remains a mystery. Identifying the weapon requires expertise. Staphylococcus epidermidis, for example, is normal skin flora in a surface wound and a contaminant in many others. If a specimen isn’t collected using rigorous technique, it’s difficult to know what is a real ...
    Posted to Stepwise Success (Weblog) on December 24, 2013
  • Here's Another Opportunity to Help Physicians and Patients

    In a recent article, Dr. Diane Shannon talked very poignantly of the reason she left the practice of medicine. Shannon said she was burnt out and wanted to be another addition to the statistic that suicide is higher among female physicians than among females in the general population. That sounds like hyperbole until you hear how much this ...
  • Use the Gram Stain

    In microbiology we learn to use the Gram stain results of a direct smear to check specimen quality (usually by a count of squamous epithelial cells) and any predominating organisms (e.g. lancet shaped Gram positive cocci on a sputum) that suggest what to work up. All good micro techs use the Gram stain. Intracellular organisms are an immediate ...
    Posted to Stepwise Success (Weblog) on May 24, 2013
  • Improve Your Criteria

    An acronym pulled from the alphabet soup is CQI, or Continuous Quality Improvement. Managers and quality improvement people use this to show that everything can be improved, even processes that work. Continuously trying to improve quality generates incremental improvements; rather than completely redesigning a process, it is changed in response ...
    Posted to Stepwise Success (Weblog) on April 17, 2013
  • Explaining Errors

    Nurses are often go-betweens for doctors and lab techs, speaking for either. For the laboratory, it usually doesn’t matter if the nurse represents the doctor (“He wants a STAT potassium on the patient in 12”), but is the reverse true? Recently, for example, a physician ordered a direct bilirubin that our chemistry analyzer reported with a ...
    Posted to Stepwise Success (Weblog) on July 16, 2012
  • No Diabetes Educator Role for Laboratorians

    A certified diabetes educator (CDE) is a professional who is board certified to deliver education about diabetes-to the public, and especially to diabetics and their family. A CDE is supposed to be an expert on the basics of diabetes as well  as the latest trends in treatment and the most recent protocols from organizations like the American ...
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