Efficiency in any workplace is vital—inefficiency costs money, wastes time, can affect quality, and can be very frustrating for employees and customers alike. In the healthcare environment however, inefficiency can negatively affect patients’ lives by delaying diagnosis and treatment. Point-of-care testing (POCT) can provide a faster turnaround time than testing performed in the central laboratory, which leads to cost/time savings as well as improving outcomes. (more…)
Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after an opioid overdose. It’s easy to ignore the words “crisis” and “epidemic,” especially in our cable-news infused existence, but in this case, most would agree that those descriptions are not an over-exaggeration. In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive. According to the (more…)
For patients and physicians alike, it may feel like we’re bombarded with flu warnings from all sides, especially after the brutal 2017-2018 flu season. Walk into almost any drug store or grocery store and you’ll see signs advertising that flu shots are available. Clinicians likely have signs in the waiting room reminding you to get your vaccination, and once the season starts, cable news will certainly report on the severity of the virus this year. (more…)
2018 marks several interesting, historical anniversaries: the 100th anniversary of a woman’s right to vote in Great Britain and Ireland, the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu (H1N1) pandemic. And while everyone loves a good monster story, it’s the CDC statistics from the 1918 pandemic that should truly scare you—approximately 500 million people worldwide were infected. That was one-third of the world’s population at the time! The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million across the globe, including about 675,000 in the U.S. The numbers are staggering, though the uniqueness of the time helped to create this disaster: WWI meant that many people were living in close quarters together, and the movement of huge numbers of troops helped to spread the disease across the country and then overseas.
Rapid Diagnostic Tests, or RDTs, allow patients to be diagnosed at the point-of-care (POC). Every year, thousands of patients are diagnosed with the strep and flu by their GP using RDTs. These extraordinarily useful tools are also used to diagnose HIV, mono, malaria, and more!
The mention of STIs (sexually transmitted infections, also called STDs or sexually transmitted diseases) may make some flashback to junior high health class. Good news—this isn’t the 8th grade anymore! You’re not stuck in a windowless classroom with 20 of your blushing peers and a teacher who, quite frankly, would rather be anywhere else. Now, you know the reality which is that STIs are a significant global public health issue. (more…)
Diabetes. The flu. Stroke. These diseases and ailments are in our common lexicon—there’s a certain degree of public awareness on causes and treatment. But how many really understand why it is so important to test for vitamin D deficiencies? (more…)
Lab professionals, from assistants to medical lab technicians, work behind the scenes to assist physicians with patient diagnosis and treatment, and disease monitoring or prevention. The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science calls these professionals vital healthcare detectives—the Sherlocks of the healthcare world who help detect cancer, different types of infectious diseases, heart attacks, and much more. (more…)