ORLANDO – The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC; Washington) and the European Diagnostic Manufacturers Association (EDMA; Brussels, Belgium) reported during last week's XIX International Congress of Clinical Chemistry with the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (Milan, Italy) that the content of the U.S. web site Lab Tests Online would be translated to reflect the language and national healthcare policies of three European countries: Germany, Italy and Spain.
Lab Tests Online is a web site for consumers to research the variety of diagnostic lab tests available to them. Its purpose is to assist in understanding the purposes of the tests and how to interpret their results objectively in terms of their overall healthcare. It is already available in the UK.
Susan Evans, a past president of the AACC who described herself as "an early advocate of Lab Tests Online," told Diagnostics & Imaging Week that, in particular, the translation of the site into Spanish represents "a huge opportunity to reach Spanish speakers around the world," including the large population of Spanish speakers in the U.S, as well as those in Latin America.
The www.labtestsonline.org site was launched in July 2001 and served its 5 millionth visitor in the first half of 2003. The AACC said that Prevention magazine in its March 2004 issue called the online resource "one of the smartest health sites on the web." In June 2003, the site was launched in the UK as www.labtestsonline.org.uk.
The groups expect that by next January, information concerning the first set of 50 tests will be available in Spain, Italy and Germany, and that by 2006-2007 the current content of Lab Tests Online will be fully available in Spanish, Italian and German.
Christine Tarrajat, director-general of EDMA, said it is "clear" that individuals in those European countries "need access to unbiased information."
Fifteen multinational companies are corporate associate members of EDMA, and seven of those companies were involved in Lab Tests Online in the U.S.
Jean Francois de Lavison, new president of EDMA and vice president of international affairs and public relations at bioMerieux (Marcy L'Etoile, France), said in a statement, "EDMA represents the interest of the European in vitro diagnostics industry to various stakeholders, namely: European governmental agencies, healthcare professionals who use or rely on IVD products, patient groups and the general public."
Lavison added: "I believe we all agree that a good portion – some say more than 50% of a patient's notes – is generated through diagnostic testing. This is the information that a physician forms the basis of and confirms many of the decisions made in providing healthcare to consumers."
The individual professional laboratory societies in the three new countries planning to have Lab Tests Online, at least initially, will be responsible for translation. National coordination committees and a European coordination committee have been established to adapt the U.S. web site content to "reflect national and cultural contexts," Lavison said.
"We are sure that we will raise the visibility of laboratory medicine" in those countries, said Mario Plebani, president of SIBoC, an Italian professional laboratory society.
The idea to add Europe to the now five-year-old U.S. project began in 2002 and led to early discussions among EDMA, several of its national association members, professional societies and AACC. Surprisingly, perhaps, the AACC has said that many of the users are not only consumers, but also nurses and physicians researching information about specific tests.
Lavison told D&IW that the efforts, thus far, to add Spain, Germany and Italy to the service are "a good start."
He summed up the effort's key goal: "The objective is to do it, and to do it well."