News Trends Analysis

July 1, 2003
The ObservatoryJuly 2003NewsCOLA offers accreditation savings to U.S. labs. COLA is a nonprofit, physician-directed organization promoting quality and excellence in medicine and patient care through programs of voluntary education and achievement. This national healthcare accreditation agency has changed its pricing structure to offer more competitive fees for laboratory accreditation, offering labs up to 10% savings below CMS inspection fees in all 50 states. The objective is to provide clinical labs with the most cost-effective option for laboratory accreditation. Other changes in the pricing structure include the $100 switching fee for laboratories changing from a certificate of compliance to one of accreditation, and provision to prospective labs with a free cost comparison demonstrating the cost savings.
State-of-the-art lab opens in Richmond, VA. The Virginia Biotechnology Research Park recently hosted the grand opening of its newest building, Biotech Six, occupied by one of the most advanced laboratories in the United States, the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS). DCLS provides a full range of services to the state, testing blood samples from all infants born in Virginia (part of the commonwealths newborn screening program) to testing water, air and gasoline.The new $63-million, 195,000-square-foot facility will be one of five labs in the United States equipped with Biosafety Level 4 lab space specifically designed to meet worldwide standards for safely handling the most dangerous pathogens. The facility will contain Biosafety Level 3 lab and training space appropriate for working with infectious microbes, as well as labs to deal with chemical agents of terrorism. Blood
Blood news. Global Med Technologies announced that it is working closely with the philanthropic organization Safe Blood for Africa Foundation (SBAF) to help stop the transmission of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa through contaminated blood transfusions. SBAF will help each country develop or update its blood-bank operation, such as finding donors from safe populations, screening all blood for infectious diseases and developing safe laboratory practices. Staffing, lab equipment, blood-collection vehicles and computer systems will be evaluated and upgraded as necessary, with the objective of attaining a permanent and self-sustaining blood supply.As companies work to ensure uninfected blood, as well as safe blood-collection and blood-storage procedures in sub-Saharan Africa, industry leaders in the United States are working to improve and automate blood-banking processes and blood diagnostics.Bio-Tek Instruments (a developer and supplier of high-performance, bioanalytical measurement systems and software) has joined forces with Immucor Inc. (a transfusion service and donor center automation company) and the University of Vermont to produce an in vitro diagnostic test to measure platelet markers useful in antiplatelet pharmacological drug development. This test would potentially improve real-time treatment of cardiovascular disease, as well as help determine the risk associated with increased platelet activity, such as thrombic occlusion of vessels and decreased reactivity, manifesting as excessive bleeding. Bio-Tek manufactures Immucors ABS-2000 fully automated blood-bank system. Immucor will spend about $200,000 to facilitate this project; the parties hope to produce a product that can be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) within the next year.Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson company, recently announced that its Micro Typing Systems subsidiary received 510(k) clearance from the FDA to begin marketing Ortho ProVue, which is the first fully automated blood-banking system in North America for use with the ID-Micro Typing System (ID-MTS) Gel Test. ID-MTS is widely used to help ensure safe and effective blood transfusions; the company claims that integrating this technology with Ortho ProVue will improve the blood banks productivity and provide process control to increase blood safety. It is the next step along a natural progression for automation and instrumentation, that has the potential to transform the landscape of transfusion medicine as we know it, says Mary Beth Allen, administrative director of laboratories at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.Worth
ASMs remaining 2003 audio conference program. Registration for eight American Society for Microbiology (ASM) 2003 audio conferences continues:Aug. 13 Update of stool ordering and testing for diagnostic parasitology
Aug. 27 How positive are you? A look at the aerobics catalase – negative gram – positive cocci 
Oct. 1 Pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics
Oct. 15 Update on emerging fungal organisms, antifungal agents and drug resistances
Oct. 29 Its time for real time: real-time PCR principles and practices
Nov. 12 Update of the NCCLS guidelines for antimycobacterial susceptibility testing of the nontuberculosis mycobacteria
Dec. 3 Case studies of viral infections in hospital patients
Dec. 17 Laboratory diagnosis of infectious diseases: tips for dealing with coding and compliance issues
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