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New Website, New Look for ASCP’s Lab Medicine

Monday, August 27, 2012

The ASCP has unveiled a new, redesigned website for Lab Medicine, which offers a fresh look with improved navigation, customization capabilities, specialty landing pages, and opportunities for laboratory professionals to interact.

“We are moving forward with a renewed commitment to serve the needs of medical laboratory professionals and biomedical science,” wrote Roger L. Bertholf, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Lab Medicine, in the journal’s Summer 2012 issue.

The website, when it is fully evolved, will provide information that is useful to laboratory professionals, such as case reports, method evaluations, practical guidelines and information on subspecialties. It also has specialty landing pages that will speak to various disciplines. These include: transfusion medicine; chemistry; hemotology; cytogenetics; cytotechnology; microbiology; histotechnology; molecular biology; and laboratory management/administration.

“We are moving forward with a renewed commitment to serve the needs of medical laboratory professionals and biomedical science.”
—Roger L. Bertholf, PhD
These specialty landing pages can be accessed from the main navigation bar on the website. Over time, these pages will become “mini-websites” of their own, as they start to reflect the specific needs and interests of their specific audiences.

An Advisory Board that includes the board for the print journal will help solicit and review online content for the website, which will be continuously updated. Much of the content will be user-generated. Its success depends on audience participation.

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. Short articles that meet continuing education requirements will regularly be available on www.labmedicine.com.

“Our profession is changing,” wrote Dr. Bertholf. “Continuing education, always essential for competent professional practice, has been embraced by certifying and licensing agencies, and many medical laboratory professionals are required to complete a minimum number of continuing education credits before they can renew their license.” 

The Lab Medicine website will retain all of its existing functionality, including its searchable archives, and will add new functionalities that allow users to receive customized alerts when new articles in the topics of their interest are posted.

To oversee the Lab Medicine website, a web editor has been hired and will join the ASCP staff in September. The web editor has a background as a laboratory professional. “She is the target audience and has first-hand knowledge of the kinds of information that people working in the laboratories want and need,” said Michelle Hoffman, Director of Scientific Journals at ASCP.

The new website accompanies a redesign of the print version of Lab Medicine, which was unveiled earlier this month. The print version of Lab Medicine is now published quarterly, instead of monthly. It includes original, peer-reviewed research articles aimed at the academic and research community. The redesign of the print version of Lab Medicine began more than six months ago, in response to recommendations from a 2010 reader survey. Dr. Bertholf wrote that the print publication’s new direction will “elevate Lab Medicine to a status among the premiere biomedical journals, while at the same time providing useful and practical resources for medical laboratory professionals.” Readers often will find a QR code on the table of contents, and after each article so that they can also access expanded content related to the article on the website.

A new Board of Editors has been appointed for the journal, and includes distinguished experts from the disciplines of clinical biochemistry, microbiology, hematology, immunohematology, molecular pathology, cytotechnology, histotechnology, and laboratory management.  

The overhaul of Lab Medicine, Dr. Bertholf wrote, is intended to establish a balance between print and online media. The process is dynamic as the new website continues to evolve. ASCP hopes the Lab Medicine website becomes a place where laboratory professionals communicate and share best practices with each other, ultimately helping them to perform their jobs better. 


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