“October 2, 2000 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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More clinical laboratories are interested in obtaining ISO-9000 certification. The laboratory divisions of Kaiser Permanente-Southern California and Kaiser Permanente-Northern California are each preparing for an ISO-9000 certification effort. As reported in this issue of THE DARK REPORT, Specialty Laboratories, Inc. expects to pursue ISO-9001 certification during 2001.


Meanwhile, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is moving rapidly to expand the number of its lab facilities with ISO-9000 certification. First it was Quest Nichols Institute in 1998. Since then, Quest Diagnostics labs in Juarez, Mexico; Deerfield Beach, Florida; and Wallingford, Connecticut have gained ISO-9002 certification. THE DARK REPORT visited Teterboro headquarters last week to learn more about Quest Diagnostics ISO-9000 activities. Look for a full briefing in an upcoming issue.


For skeptics who say that doctors won t embrace Internet-based services, here s some interesting information. EPocrates.com now says that 100,000 of the nation s 600,000 physicians have signed to use the company’ s PDA services. Called qRx ePocrates uses a wireless Palm platform to deliver pharmaceutical information, including dosing and interactions. More significantly, ePocrates says it is signing up 400 new physician users daily! It also has 25,000 pharmacists and physician assistants currently using the service. As doctors become familiar with wireless PDAs, it will be natural for them to want to access laboratory data via wireless PDAs.


At the upcoming EuroLab Automation program, scheduled for October 24-27 in London, there will be an interesting presentation. Titled Clinical Laboratory Automation Case Studies, it has an intriguing description. Now that the clinical lab automation has matured in Japan and North America, there are many important lessons to be applied to those who are faced with the job of purchasing automation. This session is designed to allow us to learn from the successes and challenges of working automated laboratories. Each presenter will be asked If you had to do it all over again, would you have done it the same way?


Many lab executives and clinical pathologists would certainly like to learn what the candid confessions of the TLA pioneers in the United States will be when they answer that question. Throughout the second half of the 1990s, there was much debate about the effectiveness of total laboratory automation (TLA). First generation installations delivered in the United States struggled to deliver the productivity and financial benefits that were expected.


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