Category Archive: Uncategorized

Posted by Brandon Willis on

The Pathagility team would like to wish all of our lab clients and partners a happy holiday season!  We appreciate the trust you put in us and we look forward to supporting your success in 2017!
Please note that the Pathagility offices will be closed on Friday, December 23rd and Monday, December 26th to observe the holiday and spend time with our families.

Posted by Teresa Becker on

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How many times have you heard this mantra in the past few months: “the patient is now at the center of our business model.” It is true throughout healthcare. Any healthcare organization, from labs to hospitals to dentist offices, would be remiss to make the slightest decision without evaluating how this could possibly affect their patient clientele. Monetary-based outcomes are no longer the sole focus of the industry. Value-based care at the patient level is paramount to not only keeping your patients happy but also keeping your lab’s lights on.

For labs, it can sometimes be hard to know where you can add value when it comes to patient care. It can often seem like labs are apart or set back from day-to-day patient interactions, when in reality this is very much the opposite. Labs provide upwards of 80% of the data available in patient records. They are responsible for so much of the behind-the-scenes data gathering that they have come to play a downright crucial role in value-based patient care.

 

This is why all labs, regardless of speciality, should strive to ensure that the patient remains the primary focus above all else. So now the only question that remains is how. How can labs actually add ‘value’ to patient care?

Strive for best-in-class turnaround times (TaTs)

Waiting for test results is never fun – for patients or providers. Even taking the gauntlet of patient emotions out of it, here is where the lab can truly shine and provide maximum value. Increased TaTs can not only make the patient happier, they can also play a vital role in saving someone’s life. Gathering critical results and relaying those back to providers in below-average times can mean faster resolution times, faster solution planning, and even faster recovery.

This may seem like a daunting task, but innovative labs can take heart in knowing that technology is at the root of the solution. Ensuring all systems are integrated across your lab in a central laboratory reporting solution (LIMS) such as Pathagility allows employees to quickly and efficiently access patient and provider information. This not-insignificant time savings allows staff to focus their attention on critical issues and results – such as TaTs – without interruptions in productivity.

Keep the patient at the center of all decisions

Integrating various lab technologies, from LIMS to billing to lab instrumentation, allows labs to create an accurate and complete picture of a patient’s health. This in turn means that every decision – from what mix of tests to run to what physician to refer – is made with the patient at the center.

Now, with all relevant information at their fingertips, providers can give the best possible care, whether during a routine visit or a medical emergency. They can also direct better care to be given in the event of a serious medical condition. A HIPAA-compliant platform like Pathagility means patient information can be securely shared both internally with other physicians or even externally with key stakeholders or relations. This data can also be used to help diagnose health problems sooner, reduce medical errors, and provide safer care at lower costs – all with the intent to provide higher value patient care.

Provide providers with intuitive data & results

Referring physicians see upwards of 10 patients a day – often times, even more than that. In order to streamline data transfers out of respect for their time, labs need to create readable and intuitive reports. If a physician can easily interpret records, they can quickly help patients and resolve issues. Utilizing a LIMS system like Pathagility can help you create beautiful, easy to read reports that can help determine patient diagnosis’ and physician recommendations, and can even lead to healthier patients and better outcomes.

For more information on how your lab can add value to patient care, check out these recent Pathagility resources:

eBook: Built for the Lab of Today

Blog: How Your Lab Can Play a Vital Role in Improving the Patient Experience

Blog: Your Lab’s Role in Patient-Centered Care

To learn more about how Pathagility can help your lab contribute to value-based patient care, request a 30-minute demo.

Posted by Teresa Becker on

AACC

This week marks the start of the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo taking place in beautiful Philly. With more than 750 exhibitors and over 200 sessions, laboratory executives from around the world will gain insight into the newest technology available to laboratories, will hear from industry thought leaders like 2016 AACC President Dr. Patricia Jones, and will have a chance to learn from peers across the healthcare continuum.

According to the AACC, attendees will benefit from “Sessions featuring world-renowned scientists to intimate brown bag sessions geared for lively discussion on hot topics, the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo offers something for everyone in laboratory medicine. More than 200 educational sessions in a variety of settings will give you the knowledge you need to advance professionally and develop adaptive solutions for today’s complex, challenging healthcare environment.”

4 AACC Sessions to Attend Covering Innovations in Lab Testing

Leading up to the meeting, we’d like to take this opportunity to preview of some of the changes and advancements happening in the world of laboratory testing that will be discussed at AACC this week. Whether your lab tests for toxicology, PGx, women’s health, cystic fibrosis, or genomics, these changes and innovations could impact the future of your lab.

During the AACC meeting, you’ll have opportunity to learn about the following by attending the sessions listed below (links provide further information on AACC’s website):

  • Evaluation of Time-of-Flight High Resolution Mass Spectrometry for Broad Spectrum Drug Screening in Urine

In the session, “Evaluation of Time-of-Flight High Resolution Mass Spectrometry for Broad Spectrum Drug Screening in Urine“, attendees will learn that, “Urine drug screening is among the most widely used procedures in clinical/toxicology laboratories today. Immunoassays have been the frontline method used for drug screening followed by confirmation through more specific methods such as liquid chromatography coupled to unit resolution tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). LC-MS/MS is limited by co-eluting compounds of similar structure; the fact that fragmentation does not always produce product ions; and difficulty performing non-targeted screening. Recently, high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) methods such as time of flight-mass spectrometry (TOF-MS) have been proposed as alternatives for non-targeted drug screening.”

  • Oral Fluid in the Clinical Toxicology Laboratory: Ready for Prime Time?

In the session, “Oral Fluid in the Clinical Toxicology Laboratory: Ready for Prime Time?”, attendees will learn that “Oral fluid is increasingly being studied as a convenient alternative to urine for clinical toxicology, particularly in physician office laboratories. Urine collection is often not observed, leading to the increased potential for sample adulteration; oral fluid collection does not share that drawback. The utility of oral fluid as a viable option to urinalysis has been published. Urine drug concentrations are not representative of specific dosing regimens, but oral fluid has shown promise in the area of drug level interpretation because of its relationship to blood. Further, point-of-care tests for oral fluid are also increasingly being introduced; their limitations and advantages will be presented.”

  • Laboratory Tests Related To Calcium and Bone Metabolism

In the session, “Laboratory Tests Related To Calcium and Bone Metabolism”, attendees will learn that, “In order to help clinicians with test selection and interpretation, laboratory scientists need to understand how PTH and 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D regulate plasma calcium concentrations, and how changes in concentrations of PTH and 25-hydroxyvitamin D associate with various pathological conditions of parathyroid glands and kidneys. Furthermore, laboratorians need to be aware of the clinical utility of bone turnover markers in the treatment of osteoporosis in accordance with the recommendations from the National Osteoporosis Foundation.”

  • Precision Medicine Delivered by Advances in Circulating Cell-Free DNA Diagnostics

In the session, “Precision Medicine Delivered by Advances in Circulating Cell-Free DNA Diagnostics”, attendees will learn that, “Molecular and personalized genetic tests are expanding in the routine laboratory. Circulating nucleic acids, namely extra-cellular DNA or RNA molecules present in human circulation, serve as versatile biomarkers for achieving blood-based molecular diagnostics for the investigation of fetal health, cancers, other pathologies, and post-transplantation complications. Recently, there have been some exciting advances made in relation to circulating cell-free nucleic acid analysis, resulting in cutting-edge noninvasive applications for personalized diagnostics.”

Is Your LIMS Keeping Up?

Is your lab information technology keeping up with the changes that are happening each and every day in the healthcare and technology world? It’s imperative that your lab stop and evaluate your current capabilities to ensure your lab remains competitive.

A LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) is a critical component to any lab operation, regardless of your lab’s focus. As a lab executive, you know that a LIMS allows you to effectively manage samples and associated data to improve lab efficiency, and by using a LIMS, your lab can automate workflows, integrate instruments, and manage samples and associated information – all important aspects of a laboratory’s continued success.

Has your lab evaluated your LIMS and reporting capabilities recently? If not, it might be time for a check up.

For more information on how your lab can gain complete control, check out these recent Pathagility resources:

Ebook: 5 Ways Lab Tech Will Change in the Next 5 Years

3 Ways Tox Labs Are Innovating

How Top PGx Labs Are Utilizing Tech – and How to Keep Up

To learn more about how Pathagility can help your lab establish best practices, request a 30-minute demo.

 

 

Posted by Teresa Becker on

Vital Signs

As a healthcare professional, you certainly understand the importance of annual and semi–annual physicals and doctor visits. By scheduling these regular visits and check ups, you are likely to stay ahead of any issues by being proactive in your personal health. When you visit your doctor, he or she asks a series of questions, takes your vitals, and looks for any warning signs or potential health risks. Your doctor knows your personal and family health history, so by staying on top of the visits, can ensure that even if a problem does arise, that you are able to get the prescription or make changes to your lifestyle in a proactive manner – not a reactive one.

How does going to the doctor for an annual or semi–annual check up relate to your laboratory? Just like you need to stay on top of your personal health by scheduling regular doctor visits, your lab needs to stay on top of its health, too. Conducting an annual or semi–annual check up can help your lab stay competitive, ensure the vital signs are all in order, and make sure processes are operating smoothly and efficiently.

How Should Your Lab Conduct a Semi–Annual Check Up?

Conducting a semi–annual check up doesn’t need to be a long or arduous process – especially if your lab conducts the check up every 6 months. The more often you conduct a check up, the smoother the process and the more your lab staff will understand what’s expected of them, and what metrics and vital signs are most important to your lab’s success.

As it’s the end of the calendar year’s second quarter, now is the perfect time to ensure your lab is on track for the remainder of the year by conducting a check up. But what are the vital signs your should look out for? Below is a list of 3 vital signs to ensure your lab’s health is strong and ready for the remainder of the year:

3 Vitals to Evaluate in Your Lab’s Mid Year Check Up:

  • Turnaround Times (TaTs) of Lab Tests

Efficient turnaround times (TaTs) are imperative to the success of your lab. Taking a pulse on how your team and your equipment and lab tech is doing in the area of TaT is one of the most important vitals to monitor. While you likely calculate turnaround time each day – and maybe even more than that – the mid year check up is a prime opportunity to evaluate the last half of the year’s trending TaTs to ensure that your lab is on target, or above target.

Many innovative labs leverage new technology to help their teams work smarter, faster, and communicate better – both for the benefit of the lab, as well as the patient experience. These labs need complete visibility and improved communication across their workflows and processes, which inevitably improve turnaround time.

  • Fast & Efficient Reporting

Does your lab staff waste time or resources putting together manual and time consuming reports for referring physicians or groups? What is your current reporting process, and are there manual steps that you can work to eliminate? How do you know if your referring physicians or groups are getting the information from the reports that they need? Taking the vitals of the reporting process for your lab can be a daunting process, but a necessary one to evaluate during the mid year check up.

Lab data can be integrated into many electronic medical records that provide “summary reports” and “trends” to visualize patient data. During your mid year check up, review your reports to see how they are generated. Generic reports are not sufficient to manage complex tests or reporting that advanced labs increasingly require, so ensuring your reporting structure is up to par is important for your lab’s continued competitive advantage.

While there are many ways to improve output for physicians and increase the value a lab can provide, one way to immediately impact value while improving efficiency is to streamline reporting and increase the number of tests and case types that your lab’s reporting software can handle. Advanced labs need the ability to adapt to changing technology and provide interpretive reporting across existing and emerging tests. Platforms like Pathagility – which can serve as a lab’s LIMS or Interpretive Reporting Software – or both, can dramatically increase the output while simplifying reporting.

  • Connected & Integrated Lab Technologies

Labs need to deliver reports and lab tests electronically, reliably, and efficiently to referring physicians or clients, all in a timely and affordable manner. Is your lab operating in a connected environment that reduces errors and simplifies processes for everyone involved? Delivering in a competitive market is essential – especially when the patient’s well being is at stake. The mid year check up is a great time to evaluate all of your lab technologies and ensure they are working as one cohesive unit, rather than in silos.

In addition, labs need to gain the agility and control to deliver critical information on their terms and time schedule, connecting any device, software, and people – whether physicians, lab staff, or patient – with no barriers. Advanced labs are running their business in the cloud, with platforms that integrate across all technologies, reducing manual work and labor that can be costly and time consuming.

Today’s advanced labs need a platform that can easily integrate with their existing systems and interpret data from existing EMRs, LIMS, billing systems, lab instrumentation, and middleware systems; while affording them flexibility to report through multiple channels.


Is your technology keeping up with the changes that are happening each and every day in the healthcare and technology world? It’s imperative that your lab stop and evaluate your current vitals every few months, but at least twice a year. The mid year check up is a prime opportunity to review the top 3 ways your lab can reduce error, improve efficiency, and save money and resources across your staff. And not only that, labs should use the mid year check up to ensure they have a plan in place for the remainder of the year.

What are other vital signs your lab checks during the year? How do you determine when to make changes?

For more information on how your lab can gain complete control, check out these recent Pathagility resources:

The Evolution of the Lab

3 Ways Tox Labs Are Innovating

How Top PGx Labs Are Utilizing Tech – and How to Keep Up

To learn more about how Pathagility can help your lab establish best practices, request a 30–minute demo.

Posted by Teresa Becker on

Greg Ingle’s background is eclectic to say the least. Greg was a host in the 90’s for various radio stations and was a nightclub DJ in Asia until getting into his first consulting job with an Oracle shop. Since then he has primarily worked in information and technology in a myriad of roles. Greg transitioned into healthcare in 2010 when the EMR market began to really take off. The medical software company he worked for at the time bought out an existing EMR that had rudimentary clinical decision support built in and he was hooked. He wanted to build more intelligent toolsets that helped doctors diagnose effectively. He went on a hunt for likeminded folks and through that venture bought into the lab consulting firm. Greg has since scaled it and used the capital from a partner buyout to finish the CDS.

About Clinical Lab Consulting

Clinical Lab Consulting (CLC) is a lab consulting firm that offers a unique suite of services.  Greg always says that the company does “Science and Compliance” but they also do quite a bit more.  They cover many of the grey areas when the regulations haven’t quite kept up with the science, especially on the molecular side. They do turn key laboratory setups of all sizes and help train lab accreditation firms on new technology. The CLC team is a blend of pathologists, PHDs, Med Techs, Marketing and IT, giving the team well rounded expertise.

CLC’s Consulting Services

Greg commented that, “it would be easier to list what we don’t do!” According to him, if it happens in a lab, they can help. They primarily staff lab directors, perform inspections and help oversee validations of Laboratory Developed Tests. They also work with their clients to help with marketing and other business related topics.

When asked what types of labs they work with, again Greg joked (but in all seriousness), “Every type!” Physician Office Labs, Reference labs, Research Labs, Academia, and Hospitals. The CLC team specializes in helping take research assays into the clinical market.

CLC’s Focus Areas & Topics

Many labs struggle with CLIA regulations, Greg explained. Labs are in a highly regulated industry. Greg and his team get asked to help with all the major components to starting a lab, including, but not limited to: financial feasibility, business structure, CLIA and accreditation paperwork, assay development, compliance, oversight and billing/reimbursement.

Greg’s Advice for Today’s Labs

“Get out of your comfort zone and embrace new technologies,” said Greg. “Labs compete on service, which should extend to your software suite and process automation.”

Greg went on to explain that, “In order to stay competitive, every lab needs great reports, patient resources and portals along with fast turn around time to be competitive. Robotics and automation should be utilized to their full capacity to reduce margin of error and control costs.”

LIMS: Emerging Tech Labs Need to Watch

When asked about emerging technology that labs should watch, Greg commented that the entire lab industry is moving towards Molecular and preventative medicine. “I am a software guy at heart, so for me a modern LIMS (like Pathagility) that can natively interpret molecular data are becoming invaluable,” said Greg. “An integrated CDS system that gives real time feedback to the doctors from the lab with historical data trends will be the next wave of the future. Static reporting needs to die off and the doctors and labs should have meaningful dialogue via software.”

Learn more about Clinical Lab Consulting at: www.clinicallabconsulting.com.


For more information on how your lab can take advantage of superior reporting and LIMS software, check out these recent Pathagility resources:

3 Features in Pathagility Your Lab Will Love

How Your Lab Can Play a Vital Role in Improving the Patient Experience

To learn more about how Pathagility can help your lab can keep up with the changing technology landscape, request a 30-minute demo.

About Greg Ingle

Mr. Greg Ingle brings over 15 years of Information Technology and Healthcare experience to CLC, ranging from project management and product development to sales, marketing, and executive functions. Mr. Ingle has worked on complex database projects for the Unites States Department of Defense, US Customs, and Fortune 500 clients such as Dow Agro Science and Eli Lilly. Mr. Ingle turned his site to healthcare in 2011 and was at the forefront of the private practice EMR revolution, where he helped develop and implement several EMR platforms. Mr. Ingle was instrumental in taking his previous company, Kareo to the Forbes List as one of “America’s Most Promising Companies” in 2012 and 2013. As the Chief Executive Officer of Clinical Laboratory Consulting, LLC™, he oversees a staff of 70 consulting Pathologists, PhD’s, and Medical Technologists. Mr. Ingle serves on several advisory boards for laboratory best practices and is the Chief Operations Officer of Clinical Decision Support Software provider Medical Database, LLC.

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Posted by Teresa Becker on

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Medical laboratory managers and technicians play an important role in the prevention and diagnosis of diseases of all kinds. These lab techs are irreplaceable in the lab as they set up and sanitize laboratories, prepare specimens, match blood compatibility for transfusions, analyze fluid chemical content, collect blood samples, examine immune system elements and so much more. Lab techs and lab staff are expected to handle sophisticated laboratory equipment, including lab reporting technology, cell counters, microscopes and even automated analyzers. Needless to say, the roles that lab staff play are incredibly important, and no matter how much technology advances, there are still many aspects of laboratories that must be human-operated.

How Can Labs Bridge the People & Processes Gap?

While lab managers and techs do everything they are responsible for (and much more) to run labs efficiently, lab technology is an X factor for labs that want to build processes that last – and can scale. Labs need to deliver reports and lab tests electronically, reliably, and efficiently to referring physicians, all in a timely and affordable manner. Delivering in a competitive market is essential – especially when the patient’s well being is at stake.

In addition, labs need to gain the agility and control to deliver critical information on their terms and time schedule, connecting any device, software, and people – whether physicians, lab staff, or patient – with no barriers. Advanced labs are running their business in the cloud, with platforms that integrate across all technologies.

Why Integration of Lab Tech is Crucial

Today’s advanced labs need a platform that can easily integrate with their existing systems and interpret data from existing EMRs, LIMS, billing systems, lab instrumentation, and middleware systems; while affording them flexibility to report through multiple channels.

Integration of all lab systems makes it possible for lab staff to better manage testing, reporting, and transferring of information through the secure use and sharing of health information. Integrating lab systems can improve the quality of results, even as it makes the lab processes more cost effective.

By integrating your lab technologies – from LIMS to billing to lab instrumentation – lab teams will gain:

  • Accurate and complete information about a patient’s health. That way, providers can give the best possible care, whether during a routine visit or a medical emergency.
  • The ability to better direct the care to be given. This is especially important if a patient has a serious medical condition.
  • A way to securely share information with physicians, groups, or patients. This means patients and their families can more fully take part in decisions about their health.
  • Information to help diagnose health problems sooner, reduce medical errors, and provide safer care at lower costs.

For more information on how your lab staff can take advantage of superior reporting and LIMS software, check out these recent Pathagility resources:

How Your Lab Can Play a Vital Role in Improving the Patient Experience

3 Features in Pathagility Your Lab Will Love

5 Ways Lab Technology Will Change in the Next 5 Years

To learn more about how Pathagility can help your lab can keep up with the changing technology landscape, request a 30-minute demo.

Posted by Teresa Becker on

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Kara Stewart’s Credentials:

Kara Stewart had a surprising start to her career in nutrigenomics. Before ever doing work in the medical field, Kara spent many years in the beverage services industry,helping Red Bull establish its footprint in the U.S. While Kara was helping the energy drink brand grow, her brother, Dr. Kendal Stewart, was helping patients with his medical career as a Neurotologist and Genomic Specialist. Dr. Stewart is a very gifted bio chemist with extensive background in biochemistry and the treatment of neuro-immune syndromes.

As a former surgeon whose focus was skull-based surgery, Dr. Stewart decided he wanted to be a “healer”, so he made the move to focus specifically on healing neuro immune inefficiencies (such as autoimmune, autism, ADHD, migraines – anything relating to the nervous and immune systems). Dr. Stewart believes in genetic testing (such as PGx or nutrigenomic analysis) and mandates all of his patients, who are usually severely affected with neuro-immune disorders, take a genetic test before prescribing any medications. Genetic testing ensures that he can prescribe exactly what the patient needs – or he can recommend they take the appropriate nutritional supplements that are specifically tailored to the patient’s genetic analysis.

Along the way, Dr. Stewart realized many supplement formulas weren’t created with all the
necessary cofactors to benefit the patient, so he began to create his own formulas and developed Neurobiologix, explained below. As neuro testing has developed over recent years, the supplement formulas have been designed on specific research and analysis. Genetic testing helps doctors like Dr. Stewart understand a patient’s genetic makeup and helps recommend supplements that work best for specific gene sets. This helps the patient save money by getting it right the first time, and helps to avoid reactions from medications or wasting valuable money on unnecessary formulas that may not be best for that patient.

Kara knew she wanted her career to have more meaning and truly make an impact on people’s lives, so she decided to join her brother and helped him, along with a team of investors, start Neurobiologix. Kara first served as Director of Sales & Operations when the company opened its doors in 2009 and then was appointed to CEO in 2010 to build the brand along with a team of medical professionals.

“Treat the source” is Dr. Stewart’s tagline. “Don’t put a bandaid on a health issue. Instead, put back in the body what is missing and help the body heal itself,” says Dr. Stewart.

Why is PGx Important to You Personally?

Kara and her brother, Dr. Stewart, are 7 years apart. Kara suffered from anxiety, depression and sleep issues but never made her struggles public. When she suffered from a really bad spell of vertigo in her late 20s, she finally talked to her brother about her troubles. Dr. Stewart worked with her doctor to correct her hormones and recommend nutritional supplements to help the body recover and strengthen her immune system. As a result, Kara hasn’t had a single episode in over 7 years.

Throughout the years, Kara has also had multiple fusion surgeries for her back and neck and could never get through the pain using traditional prescription pain medications like hydrocodone. It was only after Kara did PGx testing that she understood why. She’s a rapid metabolizer in the hydrocodone family, but a normal metabolizer of morphine. Once she switched to morphine, her body was able to metabolize it and her pain lessened almost immediately.

As someone who has experienced the power of of genetic testing, Kara recommends everyone get tested. According to Kara, “At one point in your life, you will have to have a prescription for something, whatever it may be. Genetic testing will help ensure you get the right prescription the first time and avoid the terrible side effects or issues that can happen by being on the wrong drug.”

How Does Genetics Testing Work, and How Can I Get Tested?

It’s easy for the general population to get genetic testing, but it’s still fairly uncommon for individuals to seek out the testing themselves. In order to get genetic testing, a doctor must order the tests. If you’re interested in getting testing done, you can easily search for a doctor in your area that specializes in genetics, or see your primary physician.

Once the tests have been administered, the PGx report that is provided back to the physician is fairly simple (same with nutrigenomic testing). The reports are built through a reporting technology (like Pathagility), which grabs the top medications and lists whether it’s safe for that individual to take or not. The report can be taken home by the individual, and can be shared with other doctors throughout their lifetime as genes never change.

According to practitioners who believe in genetic testing, PGx and genetic testing adds more accountability to the physician. Many believe the testing will save some physicians’ practices one day. This testing helps to prevent overdoses or adverse reactions, which are very common. Genes do not lie and they do not change. If a Dr. doesn’t listen and a patient has a bad reaction, then the adverse reaction may be the fault of the Dr. and they can be held responsible.

What Is Genomix Nutrition?

There are several services out there where an individual can order a saliva test via an online website. The individual then gets the raw data back in 8-10 weeks, but then they must go to another 3rd party website that prints out genetic marker analysis (known as SNPs, which stands for single nucleotide polymorphisms) pertaining to that specific individual’s genetic test. However, many of the SNP results don’t mean anything and aren’t clinically relevant at this time. According to Kara, “Patients are getting their genetic reports and are Googling things that cause unnecessary fear. ‘I’m at high risk of getting Alzheimer’s or cancer, etc’, which causes individuals to want prescriptions or unnecessary supplements to help prevent diseases or conditions they don’t even have yet, and may never have.”

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On the other hand, Dr. Stewart will review the “doom and gloom” genes that tend to cause unnecessary fear but he is interested in the genetic SNPs that keep showing up in people that are sick, and has made a customized report that evaluates 26 key and scientifically validated genetic SNPs.  When given the report, a practitioner can tell a patient what nutrition or supplements each individual needs based on their unique delivery pathways. “Nutrigenomics helps us identify genetic SNPs so we KNOW what each individual’s metabolic weaknesses are. For instance, we will know what form of B12 would be best for delivery by looking at your nutrigenomic report ,” explained Kara.

This lab test that Dr. Stewart has created is called Genomix Nutrition. The test is a simple cheek swab, just like PGx. The test is shipped off to the lab and comes back in a report form that details 26 SNPs that Dr. Stewart has hand selected.  This report is backed, using Pathagility’s lab reporting technology.

It reports on these 5 overarching signals:

  1. Methylation:

It is estimated over 70% of the population have a methylation mutation

  1. Neurotransmitters/dopamine:

Relates directly to ability to concentrate and focus

  1. Mitochondria:

Accounts for energy, fatigue, and overall brain function

  1. Detoxification:

Relates to ability to excrete harmful substances (such as heavy metals the body can’t get rid of)

  1. Inflammatory:

Relates to the response of an inflammatory trigger caused by food, environmental factors or an immune system issue

These 5 signals are the most relevant to an individual’s overall health. “If you have genetic mutations, we need to overcome those weaknesses” says Kara.” This report/test will print out a beautiful color-coded report that will tell them exactly what mutations the individual has, the necessary nutrients to overcome the weakness, and what we would recommend in terms of nutritional supplements. “It’s like baking a cake,” Kara explained. “It doesn’t work unless all of the ingredients are in it together in the right ratios – and it’s the same thing with supplementation. Many supplement companies make one supplement bottle for each nutrient, meaning the customer may need 12, 14, or more bottles for their nutritional regimen. This can be VERY costly, inconvenient, and eventually the individual will give up or cannot afford it.”

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Neurobiologix, unlike some of its supplement rivals, is FDA monitored, meaning what’s on the labelis actually in the supplement and is listed as the absorbable amount. The company specializes inpharmaceutical grade, GMP Certified supplements that are designed by top US physicians. The products are carefully crafted with all the necessary cofactors to improve nutritional delivery and each formula is hand selected by a team of advising physicians and medical experts.

Kara’s Advice For Physicians:

“There are still many physicians that don’t believe in supplementation,” said Kara. “If you believe that nutrition is essential for life and that the American diet doesn’t provide all of the necessary nutrients, then a person may need nutritional supplements for survival. This process should begin with a nutrigenomic test to determine each individual’s needs, followed by a carefully selected supplementation regimen.”

Posted by Teresa Becker on

Micaela Vargas’ Credentials

Micaela Vargas (Micki) has a PhD in cell and molecular biology. Part of her work as a Doctoral student at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) was identifying and characterizing novel anthrax toxin receptors and analyzing these genes in patient-specific prostate cancer. Her research project encompassed molecular biology, cell biology, and molecular genetic techniques and applications. She graduated with a PhD and did her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in regenerative medicine specifically utilizing stem cells as a therapeutic application for cardiovascular disease and lung injuries. In addition to her independent projects, she managed the molecular biology (PCR) core in the Department of Pharmacology.

Many of the platforms she was using at that time are currently being used in labs today. And because of that, Micki understands and knows the market well as far as instruments, applications, reagents, and what clinical tests are needed. When Micki made the move several years ago to San Antonio where she currently lives, she built a highly successful Pharmacogenomics (PGx) company. Micki built the lab, pulling from her vast array of experiences and her expertise in molecular biology and diagnostic work. She designed the lab, and at the same time developed a novel clinical diagnostic test for pregnant women who may have an inherited gene(s) for Cystic Fibrosis (CF). The current CF tests are invasive blood draws and or amniocentesis. Similar to PGx testing, CF is a simple buccal swab designed to test pregnant women and assess their genetics to determine if the fetus tests positive for CF. In addition to PGx and CF tests, Micki partnered and collaborated with a Key Opinion Leader (KOL) and developed  a nutrigenomics panel, specifically for patients that have familial or show signs of mental health disorders. 

For the past 3 years, Micki has served as an independent consultant helping academic laboratories, industry, and clinical startups with test methods, development of new ideas/technologies, designing experiments, innovation, collaborations, and build outs according to clientele needs. Many startups don’t have any experience with building labs, specifically molecular laboratories. So Micki helps to build out ideas and understand future goals of the company. Some of these labs have been established for some time, wherein she helps their team beyond just PGx testing (such as next generation sequencing (NGS), oncolytics, and infectious disease).

Reimbursements & Coding: A Hot Topic in Genomics Today

  • Reimbursements & Coding – For genomics labs, there were major changes in billing codes this past Fall, which can be very stressful transition for labs. Especially important for for-profit companies, your lab needs to ensure you are using the correct ICD codes for reimbursements. Micki encourages molecular labs (PGx, NGS) to check out the federal government resources, such as seminars and education events, to learn more about the new ICD codes and tests these are associated with. Other resources include, societies such as the Association of Molecular Pathology (AMP) and College of American Pathologists (CAP) that are also up to date with any changes, technologies, and advancements in testing.

How should PGx/Genomics Labs Prepare For Changes?

Right now, PGx is a very hot topic across the healthcare space and because of this, many labs are adding pharmacogenomics in addition to other testing platforms. Being part of the PGx and molecular diagnostic community, Micki advises that it’s important to not just focus on one testing panel – your lab needs to be diverse, otherwise you will be quickly outrun by more agile labs who have more resources and more testing capabilities.

NGS has been around in basic research for a while, and the crossover clinically has been gaining popularity. Because NGS is a powerful molecular biotechnology, Micki advises clinical labs to invest in these platforms. Micki also notes that many Pgx labs will join together with toxicology labs, which helps both diversify their offerings. A Pgx lab may not be suited for a tox lab and vise versa, so these labs will join together and do each other’s testing to broaden the amount of tests they can run.

Another aspect with labs and testing, Micki notes, is a very important piece of advice:

“It’s crucial that startup labs have a team member with a very strong molecular background. Some labs without experience have hired “ill-equipped personnel” to help them market their lab and tests. My advice is to have at least a scientist with a strong molecular background and a supportive team. In addition to that, because these are patient testing labs, it’s very important to know compliance – especially for lab accredited (COLA, CAP, CLIA). Many labs also use a consultant who knows compliance and rules for both Federal and State regulations.”

What Are the Most Important Technologies a Lab Can Adopt?

  1. A LIMS and Reporting Platform: It’s important for labs to be on the cutting edge of technology. Not only does it equip labs to be more efficient and reduce errors, but many technologies help to improve the patient experience directly. Micki advises that labs adopt a LIMS system like Pathagility first and foremost. Streamlined processes is one of the main improvements a lab needs to invest in, and a LIMS system is the first step in doing so. According to Micki, Pathagility is a great technology platform as the LIMS and Reporting software can organize lab, accessioning, and reporting to the specific lab, and branding is tailored and custom to represent the lab’s identity.
  1. Robots & Liquid Handlers: In addition, one thing very important for scaling samples and high-throughput is using robots or liquid handlers (such as Hamilton, which has been the forefront of liquid handling and are in many Tox and Pgx labs across the country). These liquid handlers streamline everything in terms of handling the material. The consequence of not using this type of technology is an increase of errors, longer turnaround times (TAT), and rerunning samples.

Micki’s Personal Passion: Girls in Science

In Micki’s spare time, she is a huge advocate for women in science – especially girls that are just learning about science in the classroom at school. Micki belongs to an organization called “Women in Bio” (WIB), an organization to empower entrepreneurship of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), including career development and building each other up – no matter each individual’s level of seniority. Micki is Co-Chair of the Young Women In Bio (YWIB) where she spends much time volunteering in lower socioeconomic schools, science fairs, mentoring, outreach, and putting on discussions and STEM educational opportunities.

Posted by Teresa Becker on

5 Ways Ebook

More than five years ago, in a “Lab of the Future” supplement for Advantage Business Media, more than half (55%) of the respondents to a reader survey indicated that the most important technical issue in future lab design was “right sizing” of the lab. Four years ago, a similar survey found that bench space — a derivative of size — was indicated as the most important issue (66%). In another survey performed, cost had leapt to the lead (59%), while lab size (27%) had fallen and technology advancements took the lead as the more important issue and change needed in the future.

While the current criteria chosen for the lab of the future is very much a factor of the current environment, the results are also a factor of how fast and what technologies are changing.

Laboratory automation and the growing advancements in technology have transformed the typical workday for many labs and lab staff. Thanks to the creativity, imagination, and hard work of researchers and companies in the lab field, lab staff can set up, run, and analyze the results of tests in a fraction of the time they needed in the past. They can also accomplish the tasks with less hands-on intervention than ever before. As a result, technicians who used to spend their days performing tasks of tedious repetition now have more time to think creatively about the implications of their work.

While the lab industry has indeed made significant advancements in the past years, it’s important to remember how fast those changes happened. While they may not have happened overnight, they certainly happened quickly — and labs that did not embrace new methodologies or technology were left in the dust. As innovation continues to happen in the lab, we believe more than ever before, technology — and not just lab instrumentation — will play an increasingly important role as labs strive to get better at what they do, and stay competitive for the sake of the patient and the healthcare industry as a whole.

So what kinds of changes do we see happening in the next 5 years?

We’ve created an ebook of our top 5 technology predictions for the next 5 years to help your lab prepare for the advancements:

  1. Cloud-based technology will replace installed software
  2. Labs will need superior flexibility with reporting
  3. All lab systems will be integrated
  4. Labs will be able to adapt to any type of testing
  5. Security and protection will become increasingly important

Download the entire ebook to learn about these 5 technology predictions. What are you predicting lab technology will look like in 5 years?


For more information on how your lab can prepare for tech advancements, check out these recent Pathagility resources:

The Evolution of the Lab

Pathagility: Built For the Lab of Today

To learn more about how Pathagility can help your lab can keep up with the changing technology landscape, request a 30-minute demo.

 

 

 

Posted by Teresa Becker on

According to a recent article on AACC, each year, approximately 4 million patients experience some kind of overdose or chemical reaction to a substance – whether intended or not – and 25% of those patients enter the healthcare setting to be evaluated for toxicity. The results from toxicology testing shape diagnosis and treatment decisions, so it’s safe to say tox specialties are a critical part of lab testing in today’s modern world.

One of the keys to staying competitive in today’s toxicology market is finely tuned service to referring physicians or clients, as well as operational efficiency. A physician or client’s concerns about turnaround times, requests for reflex testing, or questions about results can be challenging to respond to quickly and to the satisfaction of the client. Fortunately, today’s tox lab managers have access to the tools they need to drive process improvement and provide data and reports with hard facts and in an information-based manner.

Advanced lab technology can help tox labs be more responsive to referring physicians or clients, which in today’s competitive marketplace can be a game changer. Today’s advanced labs are utilizing these technologies to acquire a real-time snapshot of what their test volumes and test types are, as well as create efficient and detailed reporting on case types and results. These technologies assist everyone involved, from the administrative, technical, and sales/marketing departments, so they can actually see what is occurring and how it compares to the goals of the lab.

The most important challenge in tox testing today is not the identification of every chemical that labs are technologically capable of detecting, but to do medically necessary and accurate testing for those drugs that are most likely to impact clinical decisions. The major need today is the wider and smarter use of the currently available drug testing technologies and practices. Here are 3 ways tox labs are innovating through the use of technology.

1. Improved Reporting

Tox lab data can be integrated into many electronic medical records that provide “summary reports” and “trends” to visualize patient data. However, these generic reports are not sufficient to manage complex tests or reporting that advanced labs increasingly require.

While there are many ways to improve output for physicians and increase the value a lab can provide, one way to  immediately impact value is to streamline reporting and increase the number of tests and case types that a lab’s reporting software can handle.

Advanced tox labs need the ability to adapt to changing technology and provide interpretive reporting across existing and emerging tests. Platforms like Pathagility – which can serve as a lab’s LIMS or Interpretive Reporting Software – or both, can dramatically increase the output while simplifying reporting.

2. More Efficient Turnaround Time (TAT)

Innovative labs are committed to leveraging new technology to help their teams work smarter, faster, and communicate better – both for the benefit of the lab, as well as the patient experience. These labs need complete visibility and improved communication across their workflows and processes, which inevitably improve turnaround time.

Labs currently using multiple systems independently should consider consolidating technologies to allow for greater efficiency and communication across all lab technology. Platforms like Pathagility can be set-up as a stand-alone LIMS or work in conjunction with existing systems to make all data visible in one location.

3. Integration of Lab Tech

Tox labs need to deliver reports and lab tests electronically, reliably, and efficiently to referring physicians or clients, all in a timely and affordable manner. Delivering in a competitive market is essential – especially when the patient’s well being is at stake.

In addition, labs need to gain the agility and control to deliver critical information on their terms and time schedule, connecting any device, software, and people – whether physicians, lab staff, or patient – with no barriers. Advanced labs are running their business in the cloud, with platforms that integrate across all technologies.

Today’s advanced labs need a platform that can easily integrate with their existing systems and interpret data from existing EMRs, LIMS, billing systems, lab instrumentation, and middleware systems; while affording them flexibility to report through multiple channels.


How is your tox lab innovating? Does your current technology allow your lab to meet your needs, without adding manual work?

For more information on how your lab can gain complete control, check out these recent Pathagility resources:

The Evolution of the Lab

Pathagility: Built For the Lab of Today

To learn more about how Pathagility can help your tox lab can keep up with the changing technology landscape, request a 30-minute demo.