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ARTICLES

Chronological index
2013–2018

Small groups, big answers in HER2 testing

July 2018—Take the new ASCO/CAP guideline for HER2 testing. Since the first groundbreaking joint guideline appeared 11 years ago, the authors have made a habit of addressing cases that flummox pathologists, medical oncologists, and patients. Now, in 2018, they have clarified the diagnostic approach to in situ hybridization groups two, three, and four, rare cases that nonetheless cause an outsized share of headaches and worries. It also clarifies language from the 2013 guideline that had sent some labs astray, and it addresses the use of multiple alternative chromosome 17 probe assays. The previous guidelines turned out to be tough acts to follow—a bit like following Sean Connery in the role of James Bond—even as the new one benefits from new data.

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Look, wait, buy: labs share instrument plans

July 2018—“Robbie,” the autonomous service robot that transfers specimens for Florida Hospital’s central laboratory, may not quite be ready for his gold watch. But after five years of faithful service delivering samples between the different esoteric testing units, he’s nearing the end of his natural lifespan with signs of wear.

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In memoriam: Harold H. Harrison, MD, PhD (1951–2018)

July 2018—Harold H. Harrison, MD, PhD, 67, Pennsylvania state commissioner in the CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program and a member of the Inspection Process Committee, died suddenly June 6 of cardiac causes. Dr. Harrison joined the Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., in 2007 where he was director of clinical pathology and director of Geisinger Regional Laboratories.

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For pain care and more, PGx testing at Avera Health

July 2018—Putting pharmacogenetic testing into play at Avera Health was years in the making. It took time to operationalize it at an affordable cost. Today, it has wide physician acceptance and is seen as a strong benefit for patients. “Pharmacogenetics is what will differentiate Avera in a new era of ACOs and personalized medicine, and will ultimately lead to a model for transforming health care,” says Trisha Lauterbach, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM, laboratory operations manager at Avera Institute for Human Genetics (AIHG), Sioux Falls, SD.

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Direct oral anticoagulants and APTT, PT results: The risk of normal results in patients on therapy

July 2018—With the introduction of direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) there is a paradigm shift in the use and understanding of screening coagulation tests to determine a patient’s bleeding risk. In patients on DOAC therapy, clinicians cannot rely on normal activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) and prothrombin time (PT) results to reflect the patient’s level of anticoagulation.

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Frontline dispatches from the burnout battle

June 2018—Bryan Bohman, MD, doesn’t spend his days wandering the Bay Area handing out buttons that read “Lift people, not the bottom line.” But don’t rule this out as a possibility someday, either. Dr. Bohman, chief medical officer, University Healthcare Alliance, and clinical professor of anesthesiology and perioperative and pain medicine, Stanford Health Care, is campaigning against physician burnout. Yes, it threatens the quality of medical care, he says, and yes, it’s expensive.

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