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Spotlight on improving quality in haematology

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Interview with Dr Aaron Han, Consultant pathologist and Infection Control physician, Kings College Hospital Dubai

Focusing on the latest updates, diagnostic tools and disorders, the Haematology conference, taking place on June 21, at Medlab Middle East, will cover several developments in the field. In an interview with Omnia Health Magazine, Dr Aaron Han, Consultant pathologist and Infection Control physician, Kings College Hospital Dubai; Deputy International Commissioner for College of American Pathologists (CAP), and the Chair of the conference, highlighted several key topics that will be discussed during the sessions.

He said: “Medlab Middle East has been my “must attend” meeting every year. I am so excited it will be a live event this year. That is a big testament to the Dubai government on keeping us all safe throughout this pandemic.” Excerpts:

Could you give us an overview of your participation at Medlab Middle East? What will you be discussing?

This year I will be chairing, and also speaking at the Haematology track on behalf of CAP on improving quality in the haematology lab. I am also a speaker at the histopathology track on the promise of artificial intelligence.

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on haematology and blood safety?

We have learned a lot about the importance of haematologic parameters in helping triage COVID-19 patients and matching the proper level of care to clinical severity. Dr Laila Al Suwaidi of Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) will be discussing one of Dubai’s big data projects on haematology and predictive ability in COVID-19. We have also seen rare incidents of haematologic illnesses which will be presented at this year’s conference by Dr Kayane Mheidly of Clemenceau Medical Center

What are the quality considerations to keep in mind when it comes to haematology?

All of the labs in the UAE and most of the labs in the region are accredited. I am biased and believe that CAP provides the gold standard when it comes to the lab-quality framework. Participation in external quality assurance, having quality indicators that cover all the phases of lab testing is the starting point for lab quality. Also, having a critical mass of regional pathology leaders who care about quality makes this journey easier as we share best practices.

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Dr Aaron Han

Is technology having an impact on improving patient outcomes?

Big data projects, point of care devices, artificial intelligence and smart algorithms all have the potential to improve outcomes. We are also seeing increasing adoption of telemedicine and telehealth which will continue to reshape our current practice. I believe that chronic illness management will be improved as a result of these innovations. Personalised medicine and genomics will continue to be adopted at a rapid rate. We have already seen the benefits of genetics and molecular medicine in helping us address the pandemic.

The theme of Medlab Middle East this year is ‘Reshaping the future of diagnostics.’ What does the future of haematology look like in your opinion?

In haematology, some of the exciting initiatives will be in applications of flow cytometry. Dr Rania Seliem, Chief at Rashid Hospital will update us on haematopathology diagnostics. Minimal residual disease detection and bone marrow transplantation will be exciting developments in the next couple of years for the UAE.

This article appears in the latest issue of Omnia Health Magazine. Read the full issue online today.

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