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Lab Med: New Leadership, New Approach Leads to Practical Applications

Thursday, February 14, 2013

“My approach has been: How will this practical information on the website help the laboratory professional or the pathologist do their jobs?”
— Kelly Swails, MT(ASCP)

Kelly Swails, MT(ASCP) had a very personal mission when she joined the staff of ASCP as web editor of Lab Medicine last summer. A medical laboratory professional by training, she oversaw the redesign of ASCP’s Lab Medicine website with a specific goal in mind.

“My approach has been: How will this practical information on the website help the laboratory professional or the pathologist do their jobs?” she explains.  

The revamped Lab Medicine website went live on Feb. 7, has an innovative new look, improved navigation, customization capabilities, specialty landing pages, and opportunities for laboratory professionals to interact. It also includes best practices in specific content areas, a calendar of events, and links to other resources for laboratory medicine. Guest authors will be invited to “blog” on various issues in the laboratory.

The webpage also features supplemental information to the articles that appear in the print version of Lab Medicine. Last summer, for example, the journal published an article titled, “Bed Bugs in the 21st Century.” However, nowhere did it describe how to identify a bed bug from a bat bug. In response, ASCP has developed a short video that is posted on the Lab Medicine website to respond to that question. 

The publication’s print version and web version have “complementary functions that serve the interests of a wide array of laboratory professionals,” says Roger L. Bertholf, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Lab Medicine. “We live in an age where informational resources are available almost universally and instantaneously, and they are presented in formats that go far beyond the capabilities of printed media.

“Electronic media offer the options of audio, video, and interactive capabilities that enhance the accessibility and value of these resources,” Dr. Bertholf says. “The division of practical and immediately useful content on the web site versus more basic science and scholarly reviews in the printed journal makes sense because content can be added to the website continuously, whereas the printed journal is only issued four times per year.”

The Lab Medicine website will create an ongoing tutorial environment where laboratory professionals can ask experts for information. It also provides educational resources for professional development, including continuing education requirements for certification and licensure. Eventually, it will provide case reports, method evaluations, practical guidelines and information on subspecialties.

“The website will be an evolving landscape,” Ms. Swails says. 

The Lab Medicine website will retain all of its existing functionality, including its searchable archives. It will also have new functionalities so that users may receive customized alerts when new articles in the topics of their interest are posted.

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