Lab Mind

A podcast that explores the future of laboratory medicine

Join Dr. Brian Jackson as he interviews some of the top minds in diagnostic laboratory medicine. Listeners are privy to personal anecdotes and creative insights into important challenges facing laboratories and clinicians.

 
Dr. Brian Jackson

Dr. Brian Jackson
Associate professor of pathology at the University of Utah and a medical director at JM-Laboratories.


 

An Interview with Rick Panning: How Laboratories Can Reduce the Total Cost of Care

Rick Panning
 

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Health systems wishing to reduce overall healthcare costs would do well to focus less on direct laboratory costs and more on the meaningful ways laboratories can impact clinical efficiency. In this interview, Rick Panning, who served as Senior Administrative Director for Laboratory Services at HealthPartners in Minnesota, describes his work to reduce the total cost of care through improved testing service levels, saving money while improving the patient experience.

 

An Interview with Maddie Josephs: Finding Meaning Through a Career in Clinical Laboratory Science

Maddie Josephs
 

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Clinical laboratory science might just be the most invisible of all the healthcare professions. Maddie Josephs, president of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, is trying to change that. In this interview she explains why many Millennials and Gen Z individuals feel drawn to this field, and describes some of the barriers to expanding the ranks of clinical laboratory scientists to meet this country’s growing healthcare needs.

 

An Interview with Dr. Jon Genzen: The Lab Must Go On, Despite the Disruption of a Pandemic

Dr. Ryan Metcalf
 

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Clinical laboratories were hit hard when COVID-19 erupted in the United States last spring. Labs scrambled to develop and ramp up COVID-19 testing while facing PPE shortages, the need to keep staff infection free, and sharp drops in revenue due to patients delaying routine care and elective procedures. In this interview, Dr. Jon Genzen, COO of JM-Laboratories, describes a few of the many ways JMLAB quickly and successfully adapted to this unfamiliar and challenging environment.
AJCP Article: The Lab Must Go On: Clinical Laboratory Management in a World Turned Upside Down

 

An Interview with Diana Wilkins, Takara Blamires, and Misty Smith: Recruiting the Next Generation of Clinical Laboratory Scientists

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recruiting

recruiting
 

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Despite what the general public seems to think, laboratory tests don’t just run themselves. They require an educated workforce of clinical laboratory scientists. Maintaining this highly skilled workforce is challenging, especially since few young people are even aware of the laboratory science career path. In this interview, Diana Wilkins and Takara Blamires share their experiences recruiting young people into the medical laboratory science program at the University of Utah, and Misty Smith explains the intricacies of recruiting for a national reference laboratory.
 
 

An Interview with Dr. Ryan Metcalf: Convalescent Plasma Therapy for COVID-19

Dr. Ryan Metcalf
 

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Antibody therapy, which encompasses convalescent plasma, hyperimmune globulin, and monoclonal antibodies, is an intriguing and potentially important component of COVID-19 therapeutics. In this conversation with Dr. Ryan Metcalf, director of the University of Utah’s transfusion services, we discuss the current thinking around convalescent plasma therapy and why we need more formal clinical trials of therapies for emerging diseases..

 

An Interview with Dr. Kathryn Gibson: Protecting JMLAB’s Workforce Members and Their Families During the Pandemic

Dr. Peter Weir
 

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COVID-19 presented JMLAB’s Family Health Clinic with two major challenges: First, find ways to safely continue delivering the full range of primary care medical and wellness services. And second, set up a comprehensive infection control and contact tracing program for JMLAB’s approximately 2,500 on-site workforce members. In this discussion, Dr. Kathryn Gibson, medical director for the clinic, describes how she collaborated with staff from the clinic, Wellness Center, Safety department, and others to succeed on both fronts.

An Interview with Dr. Peter Weir: Primary Care the Way It Was Meant to Be at the JMLAB Family Health Clinic

 
Dr. Peter Weir
 

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Primary care in the United States is in crisis. Fee-for-service payment models cause clinics to maximize the volume of visits, leaving doctors feeling like hamsters running on a wheel, and patients feeling rushed and ignored. Medical and preventive health needs are shortchanged, resulting in poor health outcomes and enormous downstream costs. A decade ago, Dr. Peter Weir decided to solve this problem for JMLAB’s employees and their dependents. He took JMLAB’s employee health clinic and transformed it into a full-service medical home, untethered from fee-for-service reimbursement. Not only is the clinic enormously popular with JMLAB’s workforce and their families, but it also reduces JMLAB’s overall healthcare costs.

An Interview with JMLAB's Supply Chain Management Team: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Upended Laboratory Purchasing

 
 

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Supply shortages, from collection kits to reagents to personal protective equipment, have been a major bottleneck for COVID-19 testing. Join the JMLAB supply chain management team and me as we take you behind the scenes of clinical laboratory supply sourcing. Michael Bevan and his team describe how purchasing processes and vendor-supplier relationships have dramatically changed in the era of COVID-19, and tell you why those processes and relationships may never be the same again.

An Interview with Dr. David Grenache: Lab-Developed vs FDA-Regulated Tests — Separating Fact from Fiction

 
r. David Grenache
 

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A lot of misinformation has been propagated about the FDA’s role in regulating laboratory tests. Some have advocated for FDA regulation of all lab-developed tests as “medical devices,” which could be a death knell for many of these tests and put a stranglehold on the laboratory's ability to respond to certain patient care needs. In this conversation with Dr. David Grenache, chief scientific officer for TriCore Reference Laboratories, he discusses why laboratory-developed tests play an important clinical role, how they’re currently regulated, and how to best modernize those regulations.

An Interview with Dr. Julio Delgado: Personal Insights on Leading a Laboratory During a Pandemic

 
Dr. Julio Delgado
 

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Crises such as COVID-19 have a way of compressing a lifetime of leadership preparation into a single intense performance. Dr. Julio Delgado has worked as a primary care physician, immunology researcher, laboratory director, and chief medical officer of JM-Laboratories. In this discussion he explains how his philosophy of leadership, which is based on valuing and connecting with individuals, has been tested in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Interview with Dr. Tracy Frech: Patient- and Science-Centered Support for Patients with Autoimmune Disease during the COVID-19 Pandemic

 
Dr. Tracy Frech
Image used with permission
 

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Patients with autoimmune disease have faced some distinct challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges include tough decisions about whether to stop their immunosuppressant therapy and difficulties refilling their regular prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine. Dr. Tracy Frech, director of the Systemic Sclerosis clinic at the University of Utah, describes how she's supporting her patients during this difficult time. She also describes her research collaboration with clinical laboratorians and other academic colleagues to find answers to key questions that are important for this patient population.

An Interview with Dr. David Hillyard: Delving into the Sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 Diagnostic Testing

 
David Hillyard
 

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How much do we really know about the sensitivity of COVID-19 molecular tests? And how much sensitivity can be safely sacrificed in favor of assay speed or the ease of collecting a particular specimen type? David Hillyard has decades of experience developing and studying molecular tests for viruses, including HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. His lab was one of the first in the U.S. to develop and validate a high-throughput assay for SARS-CoV-2. In our conversation he explains the key factors that impact the accuracy of these tests, what we know so far, and what we still have to learn.

An Interview with Pam Banning: Laying the Groundwork for Data-Driven Health Care

 
Pam Banning
 

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Most healthcare professionals are frustrated by the lagging progress of health IT. In an era when Google and Facebook seem to know every detail of our lives, why can’t health IT do a better job of predicting the information needs of patients and clinicians? Or even modify their data displays based on clinical context? One reason is the nonstandardized nature of most healthcare data. Pam Banning has spent her career making health data more usable through standardized terminologies such as LOINC and SNOMED. In this conversation she describes how far we’ve come using semantic interoperability over the past 25 years, and why we still have a very long way to go.

An Interview with Drs. Kristi Smock and Karen Moser: Making Sense of Thrombotic Complications in COVID-19

 
Drs. Kristi Smock and Karen Moser
 

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Thrombosis has turned out to be one of the major subplots of the COVID-19 clinical story. In this conversation, two experts in hemostasis and thrombosis explain how academic physicians and scientists have been studying the coagulation defects seen in critically ill patients with COVID-19 in order to more effectively monitor patients and prevent complications.

An Interview with Dr. Robert Schlaberg: How Unbiased Sequencing Technology Is Improving Infectious Disease Diagnostics, from Routine Clinical Care to New Pandemics

 
Robert Schlaberg
 

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The SARS-CoV-2 virus was first identified and sequenced using a technique known as “unbiased sequencing.” During this conversation, Robert Schlaberg, MD, Dr Med, MPH, takes us inside this technology, helps us understand how it works, and describes how it can significantly improve infectious disease diagnosis. He also explores how scaling up this technology will catalyze a quicker diagnostic response to future pandemics.

An Interview with Dr. Marc Couturier: Improving Collaboration Between Clinical and Public Health Labs

 
Sam Marsden
 

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Dr. Marc Couturier has experienced a number of pandemics during his career as a microbiologist, from West Nile virus to Zika virus to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). And he knows what it’s like to work in both a commercial clinical lab and a public health lab. In this conversation, he describes how lab professionals from both these settings have been working in recent years to improve pandemic preparedness and response.

An Interview with Sam Marsden: A Peek Behind the Curtain of Data Reporting for COVID-19 and Other Public Health Events

 
Sam Marsden
 

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How do clinical laboratories report data to public health agencies, and what do those agencies do with the data? In this conversation Sam Marsden describes his experiences working in both the public health and clinical diagnostic arenas. He also dives into the critical role of public health agencies in gathering, analyzing, and applying data to improve the health of communities.

An Interview with Dr. Tracy George: How an Academic Clinical Laboratory Has Become a Collaboration Hub to Accelerate COVID-19 Scientific Discovery.

 
Dr. Tracy George
 

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To manage and ultimately conquer COVID-19, the public is placing its hopes on rapid scientific discovery. What does it take to make this happen? Dr. Tracy George, executive director of clinical trials and PharmaDx at JM-Laboratories, describes how her group is coordinating efforts across multiple outside research groups to facilitate faster and larger trials to answer important questions about COVID-19 therapy.

An Interview with Drs. Patricia Slev and Jenna Rychert: Antibody Testing for COVID-19

Drs. Patricia Slev and Jenna Rychert
 

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Antibody testing (serology) for COVID-19 has been eagerly awaited by the medical community and more broadly by our country's political and business leaders as we chart a path forward to ease physical distancing and the strain on our economy. Drs. Slev and Rychert have validated assays and platforms here at JM-Laboratories. In this interview, they explain what clinicians need to know about COVID-19 serology, the inherent limitations of these tests, and the research data that's still to come.

An Interview with Dr. Hardeep Singh: Focusing on the Fundamentals Prevents Diagnostic Errors

Dr. Hardeep Singh
 

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Dr. Hardeep Singh is a general internist and authority on the various causes of diagnostic error. He argues that most diagnostic errors aren’t due to failures of complex reasoning, but rather failures of the routine processes we take for granted such as communication and followup of test results. His research focuses on improving organizational systems and processes, including those involving health information technology.

An Interview with Dr. Mark Graber (Part II): Preventing Diagnostic Errors

Dr. Mark Graber
 

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In this second segment, Dr. Mark Graber focuses on post-analytic errors and the need for more pathologist-clinician and pathologist-patient communications. He also emphasizes the importance of inviting patients to participate in medical societies and conferences. Finally, Graber delves into the 2015 Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine) Report, “Diagnostic Error in Health Care,” and its key messages for the laboratory community.

An Interview with Dr. Mark Graber (Part I): Preventing Diagnostic Errors

Dr. Mark Graber
 

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During Mark Graber’s academic nephrology career, he became interested in bringing diagnostic error out of the healthcare shadows. Diagnostic errors occur more frequently than either surgical errors or medication errors, but they’ve received less attention from the patient safety community. In this initial interview, he shares personal experiences encountering diagnostic errors in clinical practice. We also discuss the central role of laboratories in addressing these problems, including where labs struggle and where the opportunities lie.

An Interview with Elissa Passiment: The History and Future of Medical Laboratory Scientists