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July 2014

New analyzers, assay applications, and tools, tests, and solutions to come

July 2014—In this year’s roundup of chemistry analyzers for mid- and high-volume laboratories, three appear in our guide for the first time. Randox received FDA clearance this year for the latest edition of its RX series, the RX Daytona Plus, a fully automated, random-access benchtop analyzer that’s capable of running 270 photometric tests per hour or 450 tests per hour with the optional ion selective electrode unit.

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AML molecular testing a map with many paths

July 2014—When it comes to molecular testing for acute myeloid leukemia, the approach seems more Montessori than military school. There are some basic steps physicians should take, to be sure. Cytogenetics still shepherds patients into three prognostic groups: favorable, intermediate, and unfavorable. And several gene mutations—NPM1, CEBPA, FLT3, and KIT—alone or in combination, and with various cytogenetic associations, provide additional prognostic and therapeutic guidance.

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Slashing send-out costs with lab formularies

July 2014—A glance at most hospital laboratory spreadsheet makes it clear: Where laboratories could reduce high-cost reference testing for inpatients and unreimbursed send-out testing for outpatients, the savings would be striking. But voluntary education programs geared to improving test ordering practices are known to have their limits. Could a mild form of, well, coercion be helpful?

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Lab gets a jump on pay-for-value world

July 2014—Before the Affordable Care Act was passed, and before the notion of an ACO became a Medicare reality, Richard J. Cote, MD, was among those in medicine who saw the writing on the wall regarding health care payment. Dr. Cote recalls his thinking as he joined the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in 2009 to become chair of its Department of Pathology.

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PT referral rules bring regulatory relief for labs

July 2014—Laboratories now may be saved from draconian penalties, such as loss of a CLIA license and probation periods, for mistakenly sending proficiency test specimens to another facility. Under new rules published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, laboratories have the regulatory relief the CAP advocated during the past decade. The CMS will still severely punish those attempting to cheat on proficiency testing, but laboratories that unknowingly or unintentionally refer PT specimens will face alternative sanctions, according to the regulations.

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