Qualified Lab Staff Decreasing, Yet Lab Needs Increasing.

   “What do you mean, ‘Do a diff from home’!?”

According to Mike Millard, Managing Editor of Healthcare IT News, “It is predicted that qualified personnel will not be able to meet surging demand due to declining numbers of accredited medical technology programs …” (Millard, 2012). 

Face it, odds are that at least half of your best diff bench workers and microbiology workers are over 55 and will retire soon. And with the Affordable Care Act, and the increase in age of the boomer population arriving now, you may not be able to keep up in a year or two with all of the more skill-based job demands in your lab.  Hope is not a solution for meeting these high-skill demands.  You can either get caught in the web on short-staffing or you can get caught up in the new technology that will solve your problems.   Really, there are only two things that can help you in light of the coming demand; 1 – More staff, or; 2 – More automation. 

                “The growing elderly population in the United States and elsewhere has increased the need for laboratory services, as elderly individuals are at higher risk of suffering from health problems, GlobalData officials note. This has led to an increase in the demand for medical and clinical laboratory professionals, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of clinical laboratory workers in the U.S. is expected to grow from 328,100 in 2008 to 373,600 by 2018.

                “It is predicted that qualified personnel will not be able to meet surging demand due to declining numbers of accredited medical technology programs and increasing numbers of laboratory workers due to retire over the next decade, the study shows. The U.S. will therefore face a drought of qualified staff to man clinical laboratories, threatening patient testing demands and posing a problem for patient welfare. To overcome this concern, the industry may consider the simplification and automation of routine testing procedures… (Millard, 2012).”

For outside the United States, NextSlide Imaging offers you solutions to ‘fill the gaps’ of the diff bench with a system that scans the slide, reads the slide, and performs the diff automatically (microbiology solution coming soon!).*  NextSlide’s Review system can perform up to 20 diffs per hour!*  What makes it the most versatile system out there is that it is a hosted system.  That means you don’t need a dedicated ‘seat’ or extra costs to view the slides. Now any technician can review and edit the diff from anywhere – even home – and the pathologist or other clinician can also view the slide from anywhere (even the beach)!  This also means you could have one diff worker in one location, but doing the diffs of multiple locations!   This saves time, money, and maybe even a life due to the quicker read of the slides.

Ask about our 60 day free trial for hematology differentials. Ask about our coming application for microbiology!


Millard, M., (2012) Healthcare IT News http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/lab-staff-shortages-call-better-point-care-diagnostics  April 17, 2012

*Pending FDA clearance in hematology – not yet cleared for clinical use in the USA.


Crunch Time In Health Care Staffing

By Matthew Mann Minarik, PA

Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic - c 1981

Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic
c 1981

I’ve been around medical labs since the ‘80s. I worked in two labs; at the Cleveland Free Clinic and the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic (in fact, I examined the very first HIV Positive patients there in 1981 – poor souls).  Back then oftentimes we would exam the patient and then do the gram stain or U/A ourselves (PPMP) – it was old-time medicine.

As a Physician Assistant and as someone who, in a limited fashion, worked the bench, I understand both sides of the door; the door to the patients, and the door to the lab.  Both sides of the door have two things in common; 1 – they care about people and ‘doing the job right’, and 2 – there is not enough time in the day to do things as thoroughly as you would like.  It’s not as if there are quality issues that governing bodies need to worry about, but everyone I worked with would have liked a little more time just to breathe a little and to verify that every step was done perfectly. [Read more…]


Digital Microscopy in the Cloud

NextSlide Imaging creates digital imaging tools for laboratory microscopy; specifically for 100x applications in hematology and microbiology. NextSlide Review is the first integrated digital imaging solution for laboratory microscopy that makes and uses full-resolution images of the entire reviewed portion of the smear slide; an image that can be used like the glass. FDA clearance pending.

Nextslide Imaging offers Lab Professionals, Physicians, and Hospital Administrators a true digital microscopy platform for the lab which makes the lab work easier.  Our solution offers a turnkey, dynamic, and  image-based information system enabling the acquisition, management, and analysis of pathology information. The images are generated from digitized glass slides stored in your own, free Digital Slidebox, and accessible via Safe, Secure, HIPAA-compliant application anytime, anywhere. [Read more…]

* NextSlide Products are not cleared by the FDA for clinical use