Medical laboratory science plays a key role on UD campus
Karen Brinker and Allen Prettyman of the Nurse Managed Health Center review CLIA procedures for drawing blood.

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11:02 a.m., Sept. 15, 2010----The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), passed by the federal government in 1988, regulate collection and analysis of fluid and tissue samples in the diagnosis and treatment of illness.

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“On the University of Delaware campus, CLIA governs every Wellness Center screening for cholesterol or glucose, every lab test done in the new Nurse Managed Health Center, and every diagnostic lab test -- from strep throat to mononucleosis -- done in the Student Health Center,” says Mary Ann McLane, professor in UD's Department of Medical Technology.

According to McLane, both the Student Health Center and the Department of Medical Technology hold CLIA federal certificates authorizing them to support and provide training for any diagnostic lab testing done at the University. The Nurse Managed Health Center was recently added to the Medical Technology CLIA certificate, so that NMHC personnel can perform urinalysis and blood glucose testing in McDowell Hall and cholesterol screenings at the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic in McKinly Lab.

“Significant sanctions are possible if such diagnostic testing is done without a CLIA certificate in place,” she says. “Staff members in these clinics ensure that personnel and quality assurance requirements are met whenever clinical lab testing is done on campus.”

Medical technology faculty are involved with a wide range of clinical laboratory testing activities on campus, including providing cholesterol and glucose testing during Alumni Weekend and offering annual seminars to graduate students who conduct Wellness Center cholesterol and glucose screenings.

These faculty members will also be pivotal to the addition of diagnostic laboratory testing at the health sciences complex on UD's new science and technology campus within the next few years.

In addition, as part of UD's participation in the Eastern Pennsylvania-Delaware Geriatric Education Center, med tech faculty are developing training videos for primary care staff to improve understanding of the aspects of diagnostic testing that are unique to older adults.

McLane emphasizes that the CLIA regulations do not apply to samples collected for research purposes. However, she says, department faculty are willing to assist anyone at UD who is planning to do such testing.

The University community is encouraged to seek the expertise of the Department of Medical Technology (831-2849) in the planning stages for any project involving diagnostic laboratory testing of human subjects.

A brief overview of the role of the medical laboratory scientist in healthcare is available at this YouTube site.

Article by Diane Kukich
Photo by Doug Baker

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