Though a major focus of the past few years has been on the COVID-19 pandemic, another silent pandemic rages on: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). One of the top 10 threats to public health, antimicrobial-resistant infections lead to some 700,000 deaths each year.
“Accurate diagnosis is the first step toward effective treatment,” writes Raeesa Gupte, PhD, in our Microbiology feature. Gupte outlines the pros and cons of current commercial and lab-developed tests for identifying AMR, and highlights innovative and promising alternative diagnostics. Similarly, Robert Schlaberg, MD, MPH, VP and distinguished scientist (infectious disease) at Illumina, discusses the advantages of using precision metagenomics to more accurately identify and characterize pathogens.
“Developing diagnostics that provide actionable results, so patients can obtain the right treatment faster is what continues to drive me,” says Aric Joneja, PhD, director of research, assay development, at Sherlock Biosciences, in our latest Scientist Spotlight. Joneja shares the challenges and rewards of developing point-of-care diagnostics, as well as insights for early-career lab professionals.
In our Blood feature, Maria Roussakis, MLT, MSc, explores the many ways molecular techniques can also benefit transfusion medicine laboratories, including resolving discrepant results and improving prenatal testing and antigen-matching for rare blood types.
“With inflation and an increase in labor costs of up to 37 percent between 2019 and 2022, all hospitals are feeling the crunch,” writes Becky O’Neal, MBA, MLS. O’Neal outlines four key steps to creating a successful lab stewardship program, including how to obtain executive buy-in and invest in and optimize software and technology to improve care.
“HIPAA liability for data breaches often depends on what you do after they occur,” writes Glenn S. Demby, in our Compliance feature. Learn how to create a data breach notification policy that ensures your lab meets all the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule requirements.
Moreover, we speak with Harriet Briggs, MBA, MT(ASCP), field director for The Joint Commission’s Laboratory Accreditation Program, about the benefits of collaborative lab surveys and how they can ultimately help labs support better patient outcomes.
Thank you to everyone who attended our in-person clinical round table at the Lab Manager Leadership Summit in College Park, MD, this past April. It was a pleasure to meet and speak with you, and I hope you’ll join us for our Blood & Microbiology Digital Forum on August 23, 2023.