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May 2018

Skirting the pitfalls of merging lab results

May 2018—“One of these things is not like the others” is a fun puzzle for kids in the context of Sesame Street. But it can be a vexing informatics challenge when you are managing data entered in fields in a database. For anyone charged with merging outside laboratory results into an institution’s electronic health record alongside results from an in-house laboratory, the differences can generate no end of headaches.

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Teaming up: how one site is managing its complex liver cases

May 2018—It didn’t take long for Heather Stevenson-Lerner, MD, PhD, to grasp one key fact about the liver biopsy cases she was seeing at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston: They were often complicated. UTMB sees plenty of challenging liver cases of its own, says Dr. Stevenson-Lerner, assistant professor of medicine and liver and transplantation pathologist, Department of Pathology.

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Pharmacogenomics advocates make case for wider use

May 2018—Use of pharmacogenomic testing is still limited, despite ample research, the existence of guidelines, and the emerging evidence it can help patients. Panels can be costly and insurance coverage variable, and providers need guidance—from pharmacists, the lab, decision support alerts—in knowing what and when to order and in understanding the results. Plus, patients move.

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From the President's Desk: What we learn from member surveys

May 2018—As a professional society, we want to know what our members need so we can provide services and programs to help them excel. We know that pathology practices are diverse because they have to be—science is never static. We also know that practice settings vary widely. In short, CAP members’ interests and concerns are uncommonly diverse because our field is uncommonly diverse.

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Clearing the air for electronic cancer checklists

May 2018—Length, cost, variability in vendor support, and lack of consistency have cast a cloud for pathologist users over the CAP’s cancer protocols and the electronic version of those protocols, the electronic cancer checklists. Work is underway to improve the user experience (Nakhleh RE, et al. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2017;141[9]:1153–1154). Behind that effort is the undeniable: “Structured discrete data, using a controlled vocabulary, can be captured, stored, and reviewed much more readily than data in other formats,” says Mary Edgerton, MD, PhD, vice chair of the CAP’s Pathology Electronic Reporting (PERT) Committee and associate professor of pathology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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With hemolysis, tackling the rush with the reasoning

May 2018—First a journey. Then sometimes a vigorous shake. Little wonder that red blood cells hemolyze. “Red blood cells don’t like to be stressed,” says Kathleen Finnegan, MT(ASCP)SH, phlebotomy training program director at Stony Brook University School of Technology and Management, New York. She instructs her students to avoid stressing the RBCs by skipping what she calls the “martini shake” (CLSI recommends five to 10 tube inversions), using a needle that is the right size, and not using a syringe for transfer but instead a transfer device. “So it’s gentle,” she says.

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Cytopathology in Focus: Reporting salivary gland cytopathology—new user-friendly Milan system consists of six diagnostic categories

May 2018—The Milan System for Reporting Salivary Gland Cytopathology was published Jan. 31 and is an important step toward standardizing the reporting of salivary gland fine needle aspiration. A large body of literature has demonstrated that FNA is an effective method for the initial evaluation of salivary gland masses, but until this year there was no uniform, widely accepted reporting system. The complexity of salivary gland cytology poses unique challenges that demand a standardized approach to communication of diagnostic information between pathologists and treating clinicians.

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Cytopathology in Focus: For thyroid cytopathology, the 2017 Bethesda System

May 2018—Surgical pathologists take their tumor nomenclature from the WHO Classification of Tumours, but cytopathologists take their terminology from where the consensus groups convened—Bethesda, Paris, Milan, and Yokohama—to formulate terminology recommendations. The Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology (TBSRTC)1 is now in its second edition.

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Clinical Pathology Abstracts, 5/18

May 2018—Use of a smartphone app to assess neonatal jaundice: Neonates are screened for hyperbilirubinemia before hospital discharge using a transcutaneous or total serum bilirubin measurement. However, levels peak at approximately 96 hours of life, which is after most healthy infants have left the hospital. Outpatient follow-up is often performed by visual inspection, but this can be highly variable and have poor interobserver agreement.

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