It was a pleasure to meet with many of our readers and the vendors of clinical laboratory products at the recent Executive War College, held in Miami last month (May 13-14). The scientific sessions were well attended and, along with informal discussions over lunch and coffee, afforded an excellent opportunity to learn about the latest advances in clinical testing and the issues facing the industry.
The increasing role of the patient and/or health care consumer was addressed in several fascinating sessions, covering a visionary model of consumer-managed health records (from Microsoft’s Paul Smolke) to direct-to-consumer genetic testing by Trisha Brown, vice president of DNA Direct. Brown delivered a comprehensive overview of the tangled area of consumer offerings, which range from high-end genetic sequencing, currently running approximately $30,000 per genome; to those closely aligned with established clinical laboratories, offering more or less conventional tests; to firms with dubious promises, for example, several offering to tie in consumers’ genetic data with the appropriate skin care regimen. As in many areas of health care, consumers will be looking to take more control of their diagnostics, and this will be an important area to watch.
Another important buzzword on many minds was “informatics,” and not just as it applies to laboratory information systems and physician’s office connectivity. It seems that every step and procedure undertaken in the lab is being affected by automation and the need to track information. The logistics of courier tracking was an area of intense interest, and several vendors are stepping up to the plate with offerings. Look to read more about these developments in upcoming issues of CLP.
I welcome your impressions of the War College and other industry gatherings. CLP will be represented at AACC next month (July 29-31) in Washington, DC. Please look for our booth in the exhibit hall and come by to share your news. Between now and then, feel free to contact me at , and continue to send news releases to . Thanks for your input.