SpecialtyVETPATH is offering continuing education opportunities for veterinarians and veterinary technicians. For inquiries, please call or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information about upcoming CE seminars and hands-on labs.

Upcoming CE seminars: 


Spring 2017 Veterinary Technician Continuing Education Series

Seminars are held on Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm.  Coffee and lunch are provided.

Clinical Pathology Seminars were held February 26 & March 19

Surgical Pathology Seminar - COMING UP on May 21

Flyer with additional information here: May 2017 CE at SpecialtyVETPATH

Series Description and Learning Objectives:

This continuing education series hopes to empower veterinary technicians with a more complete understanding of the veterinary diagnostic laboratory.  The four-hour workshops will focus on identifying and minimizing pre-analytical errors so that the best quality sample can be submitted to the laboratory.  When veterinary technicians have a more complete picture of the medical goals and outcomes, not just in the “what to do” but also the “why and how to properly do”, then the quality of laboratory results and thus animal medical care improves.

1.  Learn how to improve the quality of sample submissions in order to maximize their diagnostic yield.

In the world of laboratory medicine, laboratory test result errors are divided into three categories:  Pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical errors.  In this context, the term “error” refers to anything (intended or unintended) that can alter or impact the validity of the laboratory test result.  The reference laboratory personnel concentrate their greatest efforts on aspects they can control, which fall mostly under the analytical error category and to a lesser extent in the post-analytical phase.  However, the majority of laboratory test result errors actually occur in the pre-analytical phase – specifically, actions or alterations that affect the quality of the sample before it even arrives at the laboratory.  Rather than take the approach that this is “beyond our control”, the pathologists and laboratory personnel at SpecialtyVETPATH actively work to educate our clinical team members on improving the quality of sample collection and submission.  We believe that the most effective way to achieve our goal of diagnostic accuracy in laboratory testing is to educate the entire medical team about potential laboratory test result errors and how to minimize them. 

2.  Learn effective communication techniques so that laboratory results can provide more clinically helpful information to the veterinarian and patient team.

The SpecialtyVETPATH approach to the practice of pathology is centered on accurate diagnostics and clinicopathologic correlation.  The patient diagnosis and/or the clinical significance of a test result are not always glaringly obvious on the microscope slide, so accurate results, in part, require the pathologist to interpret sample findings in context of the patient exam findings and relevant clinical parameters.  It is therefore encouraged to have a strong relationship between the laboratory and the clinical practice, which has traditionally focused on communication between the submitting clinician and reviewing pathologist. 

However, veterinary technicians are also a vital liaison in this dialog, as their responsibilities often include filing out the test request forms and preparing the specimens for submission. We have worked over the years to improve the quality of the clinical histories we receive, and it has become clear that educating the technicians is the most effective way to accomplish this.  An obvious extension of this is to educate technicians on how to more effectively communicate important clinical patient information in a succinct fashion for the laboratory.

A good history can significantly alter the pathologist’s diagnosis and/or allow the pathologist to provide more helpful interpretive comments, which may impact and often improve patient care.  This CE workshop will explain to technicians what specific clinical information pathologists really want to know, as relevant to each specimen type they evaluate.  The workshop will go through case examples in a systematic way and provide a standard set of questions that the submitting doctor/technician team should always try to answer in the patient history.  Technicians who complete this workshop will be able to explain what is meant by clinicopathologic correlation and why it matters to the submitting veterinarian and most of all to the animal patients.

3.  Understand important concepts and general guidelines for quality control measures, as it pertains to in-clinic laboratory diagnostic testing.

Laboratory testing performed in the clinic or hospital is an essential component of the modern veterinary practice.  It is also a potential source of diagnostic errors that can be invisible to the user/clinician if proper quality control (QC) procedures are not in place.  In most practices, the veterinary technicians bear a high level of responsibility in ensuring that in-clinic laboratory testing is maintained and performed correctly.  But are those in-clinic test results accurate?  This workshop hopes to provide veterinary technicians a greater appreciation for the importance of QC monitoring of the in-clinic laboratory.   The workshop will review general laboratory technologies and procedures and propose a simplified program of quality control monitoring for them.  Common problems, sources of potential error and limitations associated with the in-clinic laboratory will be discussed.

4.  Understand tissue handling and processing of surgical biopsies from patient collection to the pathologist’s microscope.

Most members of the clinical team are unaware of the involved process of preparing a biopsy sample for the pathologist to perform their microscopic evaluation.  Yet, understanding this process can help the clinical team optimize sample quality and communication with the laboratory team, thereby improve diagnostic interpretation and patient care. 

Attendees in the Anatomic Pathology wet lab will get a close look at the inner workings of SpecialtyVETPATH, following a surgical pathology specimen from accessioning to grossing to processing and slide preparation to the pathologist’s desk. Attendees will gain an appreciation of the potential diagnostic pitfalls that can occur as a result of sampling, labeling and handling errors, and will learn about the role they can play in minimizing this potential.

During this hands-on tour, the basics of gross lesion description will be illustrated and discussed.  Attendees will practice describing lesions, with the aim of improving the quality of the information they relay to the pathologist via the test request form.  Through their understanding of the process and newly acquired vocabulary, veterinary technicians that complete this workshop will find they have an enhanced ability to communication with the laboratory team. This ability to “speak the language” will solidify the technician’s key role as liaison between veterinarian and pathologist.