A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC; Washington), the principal association of professional laboratory scientists, reported that The Endocrine Society (Chevy Chase, Maryland) has endorsed Lab Tests Online and will encourage its members to help spread the word about AACC's patient education web site.

The Endocrine Society, which said it's the world's oldest organization in the field of endocrinology, is the first group to join the site's new Endorser program, which AACC launched this year in order to broaden support within the medical community for Lab Tests Online, a public Internet resource on laboratory testing.

The AACC says that often doctors and patients don't make the time to discuss lab tests or their results in detail. In an effort to improve this dialogue, AACC said it has led a collaboration of 14 laboratory associations in developing Lab Tests Online (www.labtestsonline.org), which provides patients and families with descriptions of a range of laboratory tests, such as the Complete Blood Count and TSH, a test used to detect thyroid disorders.

"We are very happy to launch the Endorser program with The Endocrine Society," said AACC President Mitch Scott, PhD. He said that the society already has a demonstrated commitment to patient education, a reference to the society's patient education affiliate, The Hormone Foundation (Chevy Chase, Maryland). Scott said, "Both organizations have independently established links to each other's web sites. It seemed very natural that we should build on this mutual respect."

Scott emphasized that the relationship between AACC and The Endocrine Society, as well as future endorsers, is based on a common interest in promoting health literacy among patients.

"We created Lab Tests Online because of the importance of lab testing in medical practice, but we know that testing is only one piece of a larger puzzle that our users are interested in," he said. "That's why we include literally thousands of links to other credible web sites like The Hormone Foundation."

In 1997, The Endocrine Society established The Hormone Foundation as a source of hormone-related information for the public, physicians, allied health professionals, and the media.

As the product of an editorial collaboration among AACC and 13 other laboratory associations in the U.S. and Canada, Lab Tests Online reflects the latest thinking of the professionals who do the testing. An editorial board comprised of representatives from each of the participating partner associations, representing a range of expertise, reviews and approves content before it is added to the site. The board also regularly reviews existing pages and updates them as necessary. Currently, the site includes more than 200 test descriptions.

Lab Tests Online has won several awards for its content and writing, and has been called one of the "smartest health sites on the web" (Prevention, March 2004). In 2003, the American Society of Association Executives recognized the site with a Summit Award for its contribution to American society. Today, the site averages more than 500,000 visitors a month.

In June 2004, AACC launched a localized version of Lab Tests Online in the UK.