By all accounts, the annual AACC/ASCLS meeting in our nation's capital was a huge success. Topics at the well-attended meeting ranged from how to be a better professional to advances in glucose testing changes and laboratory utilization of test results.
With one of the largest exhibit halls in the organizations' histories and several changes to program formatting to make continuing education a seamless process, many convention-goers told ADVANCE they were pleased they made the journey to Washington.
Michael Astion, MD, PhD, HTBE, professor and director, Reference Laboratory Services, Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Washington, had attendees laughing while also thinking about patient safety and the clinical laboratory during the opening keynote session July 30.
Amidst jokes ("The laboratory life is based on three fluids-coffee, red wine and Pepto-Bismol"), Dr. Asti
on spoke about why laboratory errors occur and how these errors can be prevented-by using efficient intervention strategies.
| ENORMOUS EXPO. More than 170 new
products were debuted at the AACC/ASCLS
Clinical Lab Expo, held at the Washington
Convention Center. (ADVANCE)
He said lab errors can occur because of lackluster quality improvement, multi-tasking and fatigue, incompetence, not monitoring laboratory behavior and other latent errors.
To prevent errors harming patient safety, laboratory managers need to use strong interventions, such as total lab automation and equipment standardization. Post-It notes and memos are weak interventions and will not get the message across, Dr. Astion said.
"The best approach to laboratory errors is to implement stronger interventions," he said. "You cannot train or 'be careful' your way out of errors. Stronger interventions usually involve technology, backbone and monitoring."
Dr. Astion warned stronger interventions can be difficult. They involve money and changes to the way laboratorians work, which could cause morale issues.
Ultimately, hospital administrators need to spend more time and money on patient safety, rather than upgrading the facility with a Starbucks. "I'm happy to drink crappy coffee-make the patient safer," Dr. Astion quipped.
Large Hall, Smooth Sessions
Linda Gorman, PhD, director of graduate studies for clinical sciences and professor of clinical laboratory sciences, University of Kentucky at Lexington, said the highlight was the social functions for networking with her friends and colleagues. She was among the many in the long lines at the silent auction on Wednesday night.
"The educational highlight was the session on glucose testing changes and the introduction of eAG results to accompany Hemoglobin A1c," she said. Dr. Gorman serves at Region IV director of ASCLS.
ASCLS president Rick Panning, MBA, CLS(NCA), said the highlight of the meeting was seeing and hearing the many important projects ASCLS is involved in and moving forward with.
"Examples of this are the Doctorate in Clinical Laboratory Science. We now have 11 universities making active progress toward introducing a program. For the levels of practice task force, the second phase of the task force is moving ahead with refining a practice model, developing a business case and doing the necessary research to support the model.
"With our patient safety committee, a 5-year strategic plan has been developed which includes education, products and research. Finally, our advocacy efforts were highlighted as ASCLS was a key player in advocating for the repeal of competitive bidding. We have so many active committee and task force initiatives showing ASCLS continues to be on the forefront of moving the profession forward and demonstrating the profession's value in the workplace," Panning told ADVANCE.
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