Diagnostic Precision

A SeraCare blog focused on precision medicine and advanced clinical diagnostics

Choose your Article Focus | NGS | Molecular & Serology

Eric Morreale, PhD

Recent Posts

Key Strategies for Reducing Turnaround Time in Your Clinical Lab

Category: Molecular & Serology

Posted by Eric Morreale, PhD on Mar 3, 2020 9:00:00 AM
 
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Is Your Lab Struggling with Burnout Like Other Labs? Here's How Reference Materials May Help.

Posted by Eric Morreale, PhD on Feb 25, 2020 9:00:00 AM
  A staffing crisis may be looming in the nation’s clinical testing laboratories, and many labs are already facing the problem. Labs are understaffed, while the demand for clinical testing is only going up. Turnover is high among lab technicians, as burnout and job dissatisfaction leads them to seek employment elsewhere or abandon their lab tech careers altogether. For lab directors, frequent turnover, diminished staffing, and employee unhappiness are vexing issues. A staff of motivated, qualified, and experienced technicians is one of the keys to generating the high volume of accurate, reportable results clinicians and healthcare organizations demand. How can you hold on to your best technicians while getting your newest team members up to the same skill level quickly? As we’ll see, an efficient and effective training program is essential. Well-trained technicians are more likely to stay in their jobs. New technicians perform at a higher level sooner when their labs prepare them for the variations they’ll encounter when working with real patient samples.
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4 Best Practices for QC in a Clinical Testing Lab to Ensure Accurate Results

Category: Molecular & Serology

Posted by Eric Morreale, PhD on Feb 18, 2020 9:00:00 AM
  What is a clinical laboratory director’s worst nightmare? That’s an easy one. The thought that, somehow, an inaccurate testing result has escaped their lab and convinced an unsuspecting clinician to make a poor patient care decision. So much of modern medical care is grounded in treatment decisions based on diagnostic testing results. According to one review of the data, 98 percent of in-patient populations get lab tests. False negatives can delay life-saving and life-improving patient care. False positives can cause patients to undergo unnecessary treatment, which can result in needless psychological, physical, and financial distress. No wonder lab directors are troubled by the possibility, no matter how small, of reporting inaccurate results - critical patient care decisions hang in the balance. (Not to mention the professional reputations of lab directors, the reputations of their labs and hospitals, and the trust of patients and clinicians.) To prevent errors in testing and reporting, quality control is a must. You need to be confident every time you report a result that your assays are working the way they are intended. Here are four tips for optimizing quality control to ensure accurate results in your clinical lab:
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How to Comply With CLIA and Pass PT With Ease

Posted by Eric Morreale, PhD on Feb 11, 2020 9:00:00 AM
  Proficiency testing under CLIA is no joke. Failed tests lead to costly downtime for equipment and personnel as labs troubleshoot to find the source of an error. In the case of proficiency testing (PT), failures lead to time invested in corrective-action measures, and in the worst case, cease-testing directives from regulatory authorities. A failed CLIA proficiency test — multiple failures, especially — is the ultimate black mark not only on the career of a lab director but on the reputation of a clinical lab.  The key to CLIA confidence is the same simple approach you took to ace your exams back in college: preparation. If you run your assays through their paces on a regular basis, and you use high-quality third-party controls to root out any weak points in your testing protocol and train your lab staff, CLIA proficiency testing will be a breeze.
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For Clinical Labs: Avoid False-Positives and Negatives by Being a Control Freak

Category: M&S

Posted by Eric Morreale, PhD on Nov 26, 2019 12:00:00 PM
Do you consider yourself a control freak? And by control, we mean quality control - the procedures and materials implemented to ensure test accuracy and precision. Most importantly, having the proper controls in place provides confidence in the accuracy of your tests and the reported results, reducing the risk of generating false-positives or false-negatives. A strong quality program has the added benefits of reducing both the amount of valuable staff time expended on troubleshooting, as well as costly instrument and assay downtime.
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How Third-Party Controls Can Help Keep Your Clinical Lab Within Budget (Without Sacrificing Quality)

Category: M&S

Posted by Eric Morreale, PhD on Nov 19, 2019 12:00:00 PM
As a clinical lab director, you are driven by two forces which, at first glance, may seem in opposition to each other. The first is your commitment to delivering accurate diagnostic test results to healthcare providers, a responsibility critical to ensuring that patients receive the most effective and timely treatment possible. In your lab, this means instituting a strong quality control (QC) program aimed at ensuring test performance and preventing the release of inaccurate results. The second driving force is the responsibility you have towards to running an efficient, cost-effective clinical lab operation. This entails the responsibility to manage resources efficiently, to stay within allotted budget guidelines, and to avoid unnecessary spending. The obvious assumption is that higher quality translates into higher costs (and bigger budgets). Look closer, however, and you’ll discover that the two forces outlined above are not necessarily opposed. As you’ll see below, increasing accuracy and reliability in a clinical testing lab — through investment in additional QC measures, such as high-quality third-party controls — can actually translate into decreasing costs. Staying within budget and providing reliable results can go hand in hand.
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3 Tips for Reducing Test Repeats and Lab Downtime

Category: M&S

Posted by Eric Morreale, PhD on Nov 12, 2019 12:00:00 PM
The world of a clinical testing lab is one of high pressure. The pressure comes from clinicians who want their results as quickly as possible. It comes from directors and managers who demand efficiency. And most of all, it comes from a constant stream of samples that never lets up. In this era of largely automated instrumentation (operating almost always at full capacity), few things are more frustrating to lab personnel than errors that result in downtime, troubleshooting, and the need to rerun tests. Reportable results is the most important metric in a clinical lab. Any result that is not reportable translates into higher costs, more downtime, and a growing backlog. What can you do to reduce momentum-killing test failures and repeats while increasing your reportable result rates?
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For Clinical Labs: How to Ensure a Consistent Supply of High Quality Reference Materials

Category: M&S

Posted by Eric Morreale, PhD on Oct 29, 2019 12:00:00 PM
Healthcare is — to put it mildly — unpredictable. You never know when testing demands will change due to a disease outbreak, or a shift in medical consensus. Thus, clinical labs operate with a basic mindset: be prepared.
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