One of the more significant milestones passed at the AACC/ASCLS
conference was the 30th year of the "Concepts and Practices in the
Evaluation of Laboratory Methods" workshop. This workshop, taught by
Carl Garber, PhD, R. Neill Carey, PhD, and David Koch, PhD, is now the
longest continuously taught workshop at the conference.
An article celebrating this anniversary was in the Monday "Convention Daily" of Clinical Laboratory News
(Title: Workshops Offer Participants New Lab Tools and Skills:
Instructors of 'Evaluation of Laboratory Methods' Mark 30th Year').
Unfortunately, the article is not available online (yet), so I will
quote a short passage where Neill Carey and Carl Garber talk about the
'early years' of the workshop:
"'At the time, what we were suggesting was a fairly new concept,' Carey recalled. 'Before that point, people hadn't talked much about making decisions on the acceptability of methods based on measuring errors.' Garber explains that their workshop has always been intended to provide practical advice for laboratorians on the use - and the misuse - of statistics. 'Our focus has consistently been on clinical significance - where the rubber meets the road,' he said 'Through the years we've tried to help our colleagues better understand what the clinician requires in terms of allowable error and variation on a test result.'"
I worked with Carl and Neill and David when they worked at the
University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison. They are
a part of that "Wisconsin mafia" that has helped keep quality and
statistics at the center of laboratory testing. I must also admit I had
a hand in developing this workshop, too. We published a series of
papers in the early 1970s on the "proper use of statistics in
evaluating methods" and presented them in a workshop in 1976 at the
American Society of Medical Technology. The next year, 1977, I was
heading over to Uppsala, Sweden, for a sabbatical (where my interest in
QC would begin and where the "Westgard Rules" would be developed). I
recommended that Carl and Neill take the workshop to the AACC
conference (David Koch would join them in 1982.). And they have taught
that workshop ever since.
Over the years, they have applied continuous improvement to their
Method Evaluation workshop, modifying, updating, and adding material.
The workshop, now part of the new AACC University, is a tightly packed
four hours that includes not only the basic statistical studies for
method validation, but also Six Sigma, CLIA regulations and CLSI
guidelines. There's probably no other workshop that is so stuffed with
information. If you ever get a chance to come to the AACC conference, I
highly recommend attending the workshop. You'll learn a lot - either
something new or something you've forgotten.
What they've accomplished is the long distance marathon of conference
programming. Few people would have the stamina, diligence, and
determination to make a fresh presentation every year on this important
topic. But Carl, Neill, and David have done it and I hope they continue
to do it for decades to come.
So congratulations again.