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‘Improved laboratory performance is key’
BY IMRAN MOJIB March 23, 2018
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ABU DHABI: Patient safety remains a struggle in many areas of healthcare, but laboratory medicine has been a leader in reducing error, with an estimated total error rate of 0.33%, the lowest in diagnostic medicine, said laboratory experts speaking at the AACC Middle East conference.

Speaking at the maiden American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) conference in the Middle East, organised by Al Borg Medical Laboratories from Thursday to Saturday, the experts stressed that clinical laboratories are an integral part of the healthcare system. They play a crucial role in patient management and are heavily relied upon in clinical decision making.

However, they pointed out that pressure has increased to cut healthcare costs over the last decade, thus laboratories have relied on automation to maintain profitability as well. Laboratory automation is designed to maximize efficiency and minimize errors by integrating mechanical, electronic, and informatics tools to perform an ever expanding variety of laboratory tasks.

Janet B Kreizman, CEO of AACC, said that the conference has been showcasing highlights of scientific and academic program from around the world.

“This is maiden AACC conference in the Middle East which is an opportunity to explore the needs of the region. The conference has brought hot topics in laboratory medicines, specifically things of significant importance. Main highlight is quality management and how to look at managing analytical part inside the laboratory to ensure high quality results and reduce lab errors,” she said.

Dr Joe M El-Khoury, Assistant Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Co-Director of Clinical Chemistry Laboratory, Yale University, USA, said that among the new technology being discussed at the conference are Next Generation Sequencing – which is important for personalised medicine, Mass Spectrometry –  the new diagnostic technique  offers superior sensitivity and selectivity, Next Generation Sequencing – important for providing personalized medicine for every patient, although it is still in the growing stages.

“With the changing healthcare system now the laboratories have to focus on how to improve utilizing  the tests. Gone are the days when the doctors can order what are the tests they want. Today the laboratory experts are there to help the physicians world over right test for the right patient.  Now, there is more involvement on the laboratory side inn test utilization and making sure it is appropriate,” he said.

El-Khoury said, “The goal of this conference is also to bring this practice here as well, although we know that the model is different in the Middle East. But the best quality medicine happens when you have teams working together and using the right expertise.”

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