News Trends Analysis

Nov. 1, 2003
The Observatory

Continuing Education

October 2003
From California to Canada. Sharing experiences among laboratory professionals is an opportunity for learning. When the California Association for Medical Laboratory Technology (CAMLT) embarked from Montreal, Canada, on its sixth educational cruise, my assignment was to deliver 12 hours of continuing education to laboratorians as we traveled the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. CAMLT, represents the largest California laboratory professional organization. Its original purpose in 1939 for the discussion of laboratory issues grew into educational opportunities for lab professionals. My cruise seminar was designed to provide information that would benefit laboratorians and entertain, with diverse topics from professional history to clinical genetics. We even extracted DNA! Since we were going to Canada, I also offered a short seminar in the comparison of medicine between the United States and Canada. with the assistance of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS), another part of my continuing education seminar involved a tour of one of that countrys hospital laboratories. CSMLS put me in contact with pathologist and laboratory medical director, Dr. Avi Ostry, at Cape Breton Regional Hospital Clinical Laboratory in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Cape Breton Regional Hospital has more than 300 beds, and serves as a regional center for the town of Sydney. Dr. Ostry and his staff arranged for CAMLT members to tour the laboratory and interact with laboratorians in our sister nation.We found that healthcare in Canada compares to the United States in terms of high-quality care and services, but it differs in its payment and funding system.1,2,3 The similarities in the laboratory were remarkable. During our discussions, we agreed that concerns in both countries center on lab personnel shortages and maintaining high standards of practice. The Canadian cruise was rated highly successful, and meeting with our Canadian counterparts was immeasurable one of the benefits of traveling educational adventures. References1. Bennett A, Adams O, eds. Looking north for health. Jossey-Bass Pub. San Francisco, 1993. 
2. Armstrong P, Armstrong H, Fegan C. Universal Health Care. The New Press; New York, 1998.
3. Canada Health Act. www.hcsc.gc.ca/medicare/home.htm.
News
Talking dangerous germs. studies presented at the September American Society for Microbiologys annual infectious diseases conference in Chicago highlighted the danger of hospital-acquired infections. One in 20 patients contracts such an infection, often spread by a healthcare worker.New research suggests that doctors cell phones and ECG wires can spread dangerous germs, which can become resistant to antibiotics and can survive on inanimate objects, like cell phones, for long periods of time. The bacteria can be passed to patients from staff, who carry cell phones. One study in an Israeli hospital showed 12% of cell phones used by healthcare workers were contaminated with harmful bacteria. Jacob Gilad, a researcher at Soroka University Medical Center in BeerSheva, Israel, states, We had a huge problem with Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria, which can cause serious bloodstream and respiratory tract infections in patients with catheters, on ventilators and in burn units. Drug-resistant germs were found on ECG wires by disease expert Dennis Maki of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Resistant germs have been found on patients charts and on phones, so these studies shouldnt come as any surprise, says Maki.It's
showtime 2003!
December 4-946th Annual Meeting and Expo The American Society of Hematology
(ASH)
San Diego, CAwww.hematology.org                                                                              
November 2003: Vol. 35, No. 11
© 2003 Nelson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

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