The CSMLS is extremely pleased to announce receipt of funding from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration in support of two exciting initiatives.
The first, "Diversity Supports for Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLTs)" aims to create a suite of tools and resources for use by the entire MLT community. The content and format of these supports will be based on the specific diversity needs identified by the CSMLS membership through an online survey administered in June, 2018.
"Much of the work we have undertaken in the past has been focussed on helping internationally educated MLTs become certified" comments Project Manager, Keith Johnson. "This project is particularly special as it will improve the integration of these individuals into the workforce even after they receive their license to practice."
A multi-disciplinary Advisory Committee comprised of clinical educators, members, an internationally educated MLT, employers and representatives from immigrant serving agencies, has been assembled to provide ongoing guidance and oversight to the project.
In parallel, the CSMLS is also developing an online practice exam resource which will be made available to all certification exam candidates. CSMLS subject matter experts will be writing over 600 new practice test questions designed to mirror the high-stakes version.
Reflecting on this work, CSMLS CEO Christine Nielsen indicates that "the number one request we get from internationally educated MLTs is for a high-fidelity practice test to prepare for the CSMLS Certification Exam."
The CSMLS expects that introduction of a practice exam will help to alleviate exam anxiety for all exam candidates especially internationally educated individuals who may have had little or no exposure to the multiple-choice style of testing.
The Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver, or CASL, released a guideline on June 4th that now recommends screening patients born between 1945 and 1975 for hepatitis C virus.
The recommendation, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, corresponds with current guidance from other national and international organizations, including the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. However, it differs from guidance issued by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPH) in April 2017, which does not recommend HCV screening in low-risk patients, including baby boomers.
Previously, the CTFPH said its decision to recommend against screening baby boomers was based on several factors, including the low prevalence (between 0.64% and 0.71%) of HCV in the Canadian population not at an elevated risk for chronic infection and the lack of direct evidence of the benefits and harms of screening. However, Hemant Shah, MD, MScCH(HPTE), co-author of the new CASL guideline, said new developments have emerged since this recommendation, warranting a change in guidance.
According to recent data, approximately 252,000 people in Canada were chronically infected with HCV in 2013. Prevalence is highest among baby boomers, who account for 62.7% of all HCV infections in Canada, Shah and colleagues reported. However, up to 70% of these patients are unaware of their infection.
Researchers at Rutgers University in the US have developed an end-to-end blood test device that combines robotic phlebotomy with downstream sample processing to draw blood and provide diagnostic results with rapid turnaround times at the point of care.
The device has the potential to accelerate hospital work-flow and enable practitioners to devote more time to treating patients.
Research regarding the test has been published in a paper in the journal TECHNOLOGY.
Senior author of the paper Dr Martin Yarmush said: “This device represents the holy grail in blood testing technology. Integrating miniaturized robotic and microfluidic systems, this technology combines the breadth and accuracy of traditional laboratory testing with the speed and convenience of point-of-care testing.”
The researchers wanted to create a device that could address the current issues with manual blood tests. These issues include draw success rates being dependent on clinician skill and patient physiology as well as the time it takes to generate results in centralised labs from large-volume samples using labour-intensive analytical techniques.
To address these issues, the team of researchers designed the blood test device so it included an image-guided venipuncture robot able to address the challenges of routine venous access, with a centrifuge-based blood analyser to obtain quantitative measurements of haematology.
In the paper, the researchers presented results for a white blood cell assay, using a blood-mimicking fluid containing fluorescent microbeads. Studies were conducted on the integrated device, from blood draw to analysis, using blood vessel phantoms. High accuracy and repeatability of the cannulation and resulting white blood cell assay was demonstrated.
First author of the paper Dr Max Balter said: “When designing the system, our focus was on creating a modular and expandable device. With our relatively simple chip design and analysis techniques, the device can be extended to incorporate a broader panel of assays in the future.”