Summary of the Last Day at CLMA KnowledgeLab

The Third and Final Day of KnowledgeLab has arrived. Even after two solid days of fantastic education, the meeting attendees have engaged in educational activities with as much enthusiasm as they had on the first day.

Ellen Dijkman-Dulkes of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire presented on one of my favorite topics, outreach. In 2010, DHMC launched an initiative to evolve their outreach program from an esoteric, anatomic pathology focus to clinical pathology testing for medical providers. Key to the success of this initiative was planning, establishing relationship with vendor partners to upgrade equipment and having supportive leadership. Actual implementation took approximately eight months, and since 2010, the laboratory has realized 40 percent growth in their outreach program.  They are now planning a local/regional strategy within their state and I eagerly anticipate learning of their next success.

Tony Kurec, recently retired from SUNY Upstate, presented, “How to Develop a Presentation and Make your Meeting Work”. As leaders, we must plan to ensure that our meetings are valuable for participants and achieve the goal. A single meeting can be very expensive in terms of staff time and can actually “cost” thousands of dollars, based on who is in attendance. In order to make our meetings work, we must know what we are trying to accomplish, be prepared, set an agenda and maintain open communication with participants.

And as with the prior two days, there were ten other breakout sessions that I was not able to attend. If a cloning machine existed, I would have been able to attain five times more knowledge!

We were sent on our way after the final session, “Laboratories Respond to New Healthcare Changes” presented by Robert Michel of the Dark Report. As healthcare shifts from a reactive mode to a proactive mode, the laboratory has an important role. We add value through performing tests that impact patient safety and improve overall care. We can reduce overall healthcare costs through providing integrated results. Currently, 25 percent of physicians indicate that they may reorder a test if they can’t find a previous result on the chart.  Integrated results and timely access to this information is key. And the best news is that the shift toward outpatient treatment and testing further validates the significance of, and need for hospitals to have strong outreach programs! My favorite quote from this session was, “Change means opportunity. Nimble laboratories will be the successful ones in the future.”

Finally, as an attendee of this CLMA KnowledgeLab conference, I feel that the role of attendee is as critical to the success of an educational activity as those who are presenting the information. I know first-hand that the conference planning committee worked tirelessly to ensure that the educational topics covered a wide range of areas for differing levels of clinical laboratory leaders. As a presenter, I know the countless hours that go into preparing and rehearsing a presentation. But without the attendees selecting the educational sessions that would provide them the best education, the meeting would not be a success.

What’s the one new thing I learned today that I’m going to do when I get back to my office? Tony Kurec taught me a new technique called “Toss the Fish”. For those who attended his session, you will know what this is. For those who did not, you’ll have to just attend a meeting with me and see what it is!


Andy Tofilon

Andy Tofilon is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. He leads strategies for corporate communications, public relations, and new media innovations. Andy has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2003. Outside of work, Andy can be found running, hiking, snapping photos, and most importantly, spending time with his family.