Education & Tools

Our Mission

PLUGS offers laboratory stewardship program guidance, tools & education to help hospital laboratories, reference laboratories, and practitioners implement their own laboratory stewardship programs. These programs improve patient safety by reducing errors, and significantly reduce laboratory testing expenses.

Tools

  • Customized strategic assessment from the PLUGS Team
  • Policies, procedures & communication templates that help providers reduce unnecessary testing & correct test orders
  • Database for collecting, tracking, & analyzing cases
  • Tool to assess the risk of errors in send-outs area
  • Provider-satisfaction survey to solicit feedback regarding the program
2017 PLUG Conference

Be Connected

  • PLUGS Committees: Formulary & Insurance Alignment
  • Weekly Newsletter
  • Bi-monthly Member Meetings presented by PLUGS members
  • Discussion Forum
  • Office Hours/Call Center
  • Monthly Lab Stewardship Webinars
  • Annual PLUGS Summit
  • Regional PLUGS Conferences

Upcoming Webinars

PLUGS members receive free access to all of our webinars. if you are a PLUGS member email us to register

September 17, 2019: Cross-training: Keys to Creating a Flexible Workforce

Date: September 17, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM PT
Cost: $195 (Free for PLUGS members. Email us for a discount code.)

Presenters:

Luke Drury, PhD, HCLD(ABB), DLM(ASCP)CM, MB(ASCP)CM- PreventionGenetics

Description of Program Content:
Cross-training provides many potential benefits in laboratory operations including improving employee satisfaction, allowing quick reaction time to change, strengthening team relationships, and cost-savings. Challenges of a highly cross-trained staff include ensuring effective communication across tasks, managing competition between staff, and preventing loss of focus due to competing priorities. In the webinar, we will describe the pros and cons of cross-training and introduce the tools necessary to support a highly-cross trained staff.

Measurable Learning Objectives
At the end of this activity the participant will be able to:

  1. Discuss the Pros and Cons of cross-training
  2. Explain the  3 W’s: Who, What, Where; how to move as a cohesive unit
  3. Describe tools to support effective cross-training

October 15, 2019: Ethical Issues Arising from Big Data and AI

Date: October 15, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM PT

Presenters:

Brian Jackson, MD, MS – University of Utah

Description of Program Content:
Big data and artificial intelligence are revolutionizing most areas of society, and are poised to make a similar impact on health care and medicine.  Like all new powerful technologies, AI has risks as well as benefits.  If not carefully managed, AI can contribute to serious harm to patients in areas including privacy and nosocomial injury.  This presentation will describe the nature of these risks along with potential approaches to reduce harm.

Measurable Learning Objectives
At the end of this activity the participant will be able to:

  1. Identify key limitations of HIPAA in the big data/AI era
  2. Identify mechanisms of bias in black box algorithms
  3. Describe mechanisms for AI risk reduction through both public policy and academic research

 


Past Webinars

All of our past webinars are available to PLUGS members, log in to find the recordings and slides.

January 15, 2019: Optimizing Laboratory Sendouts to Support Stewardship

Date: January 15, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM PT
Cost: $195 (Free for PLUGS members. Email us for a discount code.)

Presenters:

Jane Dickerson, PhD, DABCC – PLUGS, Seattle Children’s Hospital

Monica Wellner – PLUGS, Seattle Children’s Hospital

Description of Program Content:
Diagnostic errors in laboratory testing can cause significant patient harm.  These errors occur throughout the testing process, from pre-analytic errors in test ordering to post-analytic errors in retrieving and interpreting results.  Send-out testing to referral laboratories is particularly risk-prone due to multiple hand-offs, longer turn around times, unfamiliarity with low volume tests, and manual result entry.  At our institution, we have devoted resources to improve send out testing operations. This session will describe how we mitigated the risks associated with send out testing, and simultaneously decreased costs.  We will describe how we decreased the number of reference laboratories used and implemented a case review system as part of our laboratory stewardship program.  We will describe how we engaged front line staff to reduce errors related to manual specimen packaging and shipping.

Measurable Learning Objectives
At the end of this activity the participant will be able to:

1.    Understand potential patient safety risk within your send outs department

2.    Identify opportunities to reduce unnecessary test orders

3.    Describe tools available to support process improvement

February 19, 2019: Ordering the Right Lab Test: It all begins with the Right Test Name

Date: February 19th, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM PT
Cost: $195 (Free for PLUGS members. Email us for a discount code.)

Presenter:

Ila Singh, MD, PhD – Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine

Description of Program Content:
Names of Lab Tests are usually chosen by pathologists and clinical scientists, often without any specific rules or guidelines. While these names make perfect sense to pathologists, they can be confusing for clinicians, who may order the wrong test, leading to delays and poorer outcomes. This webinar will discuss a national initiative to fix the problem of difficult to understand test names.

Measurable Learning Objectives
At the end of this activity the participant will be able to:

  1. Recognize that many Lab Test Utilization Management programs utilize Lab Test Name Change as a major tool
  2. Recognize that the names of lab tests lead to considerable confusion in ordering
  3. Analyze and participate in a process to create lab test names that are easy to understand, use, and make widely available

March 19, 2019: Getting More From Your Sequencing Data: Copy Number Variant Detection by Next Generation Sequencing

Date: March 19th, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM PT
Cost: $195 (Free for PLUGS members. Email us for a discount code.)

Presenter:

Diane Allingham-Hawkins, PhD, FCCMG, FACMG – PreventionGenetics, LLC

Description of Program Content:
This webinar will review different technologies used for the detection of copy number variants (CNV), with an emphasis on the use of next generation sequencing (NGS) data to detect CNVs. The presentation will include an introduction to CNVs and the different technologies currently used by clinical genetic testing labs for CNV detection in patient specimens. An overview of the validation of CNV detection using NGS data will be provided and case examples will be presented to demonstrate the value of including CNV detection in NGS tests.

Measurable Learning Objectives
At the end of this activity the participant will be able to:

  1. Explain the benefits and limitations of copy number variant detection by next generation sequencing
  2. Compare copy number variant detection by next generation sequencing to other methods of copy number variant detection such as microarray
  3. Provide examples of how performing copy number variant detection by next generation sequencing adds value to a sequencing test

April 30, 2019: The Clinical Utility of Genetic Testing in Autism Spectrum Disorder: When Findings Impact Care

Date: April 30, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM PT
Cost: $195 (Free for PLUGS members. Email us for a discount code.)

Presenters:

Greg Fischer, PhD – PreventionGenetics

Description of Program Content:
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompasses several neurodevelopmental features presenting as varying degrees of social impairment, communication ability, and propensity for restricted interests and repetitive behaviors.  In recent years, our understanding of the genetic components contributing to ASD has improved through the work of several large cohort studies.  Through this work, an extensive list of gene candidates has been identified which has resulted in the development of large exome-based panels for testing of individuals with ASD and intellectual disability phenotypes.  Some studies have also identified ASD with characteristic clinical features that result in a change in the patient’s clinical care.  This webinar explores the current landscape of the genetics of ASD, the clinical utility of large gene panels in the molecular diagnosis of ASD, and presents examples of ‘actionable autism’ cases in which testing results in a change in clinical care.

Measurable Learning Objectives
At the end of this activity the participant will be able to:

1.       Describe the genetic diversity behind autism spectrum disorders and the growing list of gene candidates.

2.       Explain the clinical utility of genetic testing for autism spectrum disorder and related syndromes.

3.       Identify examples of genes associated with autism spectrum disorder that also include secondary clinical features that may result in a change in clinical care for the patient.

May 21, 2019: State of the Industry: Germline & Somatic Test Accuracy

Date: May 21, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM PT
Cost: $195 (Free for PLUGS members. Email us for a discount code.)

Presenters:

Julie M. Eggington, MS, PhD – Center for Genomic Interpretation

Description of Program Content:

The rapid advancement of NGS laboratory developed tests have exceeded the oversight scope of CLIA & CAP. Pricing pressure, belated standard setting, clinician expectation & evolving test populations have led to a largely unrecognized inaccuracy crisis in clinical genetics & genomics. We will present areas many labs struggle with that need improvement. These areas are part of the Center for Genomic Interpretation’s ELEVATEGeneticsTM quality audit process that is beginning to be used by health insurance payers, & is complementary to PLUGS.

Measurable Learning Objectives
At the end of this activity the participant will be able to:

  1. Better assess the appropriateness of gene selection on panels.
  2. Better assess a lab’s NGS Bioinformatics variant calling process.
  3. Better assess a lab’s Variant Classification accuracy.

June 18, 2019: Consumer Genetics in 2019

Date: June 18, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM PT
Cost: $195 (Free for PLUGS members. Email us for a discount code.)

Presenter:

Jill Hagenkord, MD

Description of Program Content:

  • History of Consumer Genetics/Genomics
  • What is Consumer Genetics in 2019? Regulatory frameworks, commercial models, intended use
  • Completeness and Residual Risk
  • Beware of False Positives
    • Analytical: unvalidated raw data
    • Clinical: positive predictive values in population screening; 3rd party software

Measurable Learning Objectives
At the end of this activity the participant will be able to:

  1. Understand the differences between first generation and second generation consumer genetics services.
  2. Understand the different regulatory frameworks for consumer genetics.
  3. Understand the relative strengths and limitations of different technologies and interpretation strategies.

August 20, 2019: Pharmacogenetics in the clinic – thoughts on what to order and how to interpret

Date: August 20, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM PT
Cost: $195 (Free for PLUGS members. Email us for a discount code.)

Presenter:

Gwen McMillin, PhD, DABCC(CC,TC) – ARUP laboratories

Description of Program Content:

Interest in pharmacogenetics/pharmacogenomics (PGx) has grown substantially over the past few years and is now starting to infiltrate clinics in the US.  With progress, comes challenges, and many questions about equality of laboratory testing options and guidance for interpretation have arisen.  This presentation will describe factors to consider when selecting testing options, as well as describe resources to guide interpretation and implementation in the clinic.

Measurable Learning Objectives
At the end of this activity the participant will be able to:

  1. List variables associated with laboratory testing of pharmacogenes.
  2. Provide specific examples of clinically actionable PGx targets.
  3. Discuss key considerations regarding clinical implementation of PGx.