D_Curran.jpg (8435 bytes)Welcome to the final month of the much-dreaded, widely heralded New Millennium! In addition to such time-honored holiday traditions as overeating and dressing up as Santa Claus, December also is a month for taking stock and saying, “thank you.”

If your year has gone by quickly, it probably means you were busy doing today’s work while frantically planning for tomorrow and next year. The break-neck pace of healthcare today doesn’t leave much time for “atta-girls/boys,” so it’s important to take time every now and again to thank the people who work for and with you each day. If not for laboratorians, the underlying causes of most of the world’s diseases would remain unknown, undiagnosed and untreated. So give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back right before you treat yourself to this month’s issue.

When it comes to getting new diagnostic assays through the Food and Drug Administration process, St. Louis-based Sigma Diagnostics seems to have a winning process. On page 16, Paul Kandarian talks with Mark Triscott, Sigma’s director of R&D about the company strategy for getting 11 products through the FDA pipeline in three years.

Once your new product has wended its way through FDA, there’s always the next step — getting reimbursement for its use approved through the Health Care Finance Administration (HFCA). That’s the issue at the heart of work being done this year by AdvaMed, the Washington, D.C.-based organization that has taken on the mantle of advocate for better patient access to medical technology. My interview with John P. Wareham, chairman and CEO of Beckman Coulter and chairman and CEO of AdvaMed (the Advanced Medical Technologies Association formerly HIMA or Health Industries Manufacturing Association) on page 22 covers reimbursement issues and the future of the IVD industry.

If you’ve ever suffered from eyestrain or headache due to poor lighting conditions, you won’t want to miss Melissa Mac’s Cinderella story about the Ott-Lite on page 26. Ott-Lite’s technology replicates sunlight for life-like color and acuity, and you’ll have to read the article to understand the Walt Disney movie reference.

Have a happy and safe holiday.

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Coleen Curran