Michael Lee Astion, MD, PhD

Michael Lee Astion, MD, PhD


On staff since January 2011

Children's Title: Director, Laboratory Medicine

Academic Title: Professor

Dr. Astion is a clinical pathologist who is Medical Director of the Department of Laboratories. For almost two decades he worked at the University of Washington, Department of Laboratory Medicine where he was a Professor and Director of Reference Laboratory Services and Associate Director of the Clinical Immunology Laboratory.

His career is divided between clinical service, teaching, clinical service, and research and development. He has authored more than 20 software titles, 40 peer-reviewed papers, and 40 editorials. His software, which has been translated into several languages, includes both laboratory tutorials and competency assessment exams, and these materials are now used by more than 40,000 clinical laboratory workers annually in 1500 labs as part of the Medical Training Solutions laboratory training library.

He is the editor-in-chief of Patient Safety Focus, which appears quarterly within AACCs Clinical Laboratory News. He is currently working actively, through grants and intellectual property held by the University of Washington, with the insurance industry in the United States to create utilization management rules for clinical laboratory testing.

Dr. Astion is a frequent speaker at professional meetings, where he lectures on issues related to continuous performance improvement; laboratory errors and patient safety; laboratory test utilization; test interpretation; laboratory economics and outreach; and competency assessment.

His previous awards include: American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Theriot Award for Excellence in Media, which he received twice for his educational software; AACC Annual Award for Outstanding Contributions to Patient Safety (2006); AACC Annual Award for Contributions to Management Science (2007); Canadian Society of Clinical Chemistry Traveling Lectureship (2007, and the AACC Annual Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education (2014).

A frequent winner of the AACC outstanding speaker award, Dr. Astion has been active in the AACC, including as a symposium organizer for the 2005 Annual Meeting Organizing Committee and as a previous head of the Patient Safety Taskforce.


  • Paul Fort Atkinson, WI 07.18.12

    Heard him speak while at AACC Conference in LA (2012). Concepts presented regarding the human resource impact on lab quality were splendid.

  • Amy Seattle, WA 01.19.12

    fantastic in patholigy, I truly recomend him.


Board Certification(s)

Pathology - Clinical

Medical/Professional School

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia


Pathology - Clinical, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Pathology - Clinical, University of Washington, Seattle

Clinical Interests

Laboratory Utilization, Continuous Performance Improvement, Laboratory Economics, Autoantibody testing, Patient Safety

Awards and Honors

Award Name Award Description Awarded By Award Date
Contributions to Management Science An international award given annually for contributions to management science as it relates to the clinical laboratory industry. American Association for Clinical Chemistry 2006 - 2007
Outstanding Contributions to Patient Safety An international award given annually for conributions to decreasing errors in laboratory testing. American Association for Clinical Chemistry 2005 - 2006


  • Dickerson J, Jack RM, Astion ML
    A Systematic Approach to Improve the Quality and Economics of Laboratory Send-outs in a Pediatric Reference Laboratory
    Modern Pathology , 2012 : 25342-343
  • Dickerson J, Cole, B and Astion ML
    Ten Ways to Improve the Quality of Send-out Testing
    Clinical Laboratory News , 2012 : 38(4)
  • Dintzis SM, Stetsenko GY, Sitlani CM, Gronowski AM, Astion ML, Gallagher TH
    Communicating pathology and laboratory errors: anatomic pathologists' and laboratory medical directors' attitudes and experiences.
    21502431 American journal of clinical pathology , 2011 May : 135(5)760-5
  • Astion ML
    Disruptive Behavior: How Labs Can Recognize and Ovecome its Negative Effects
    Clinical Laboratory News , 2011 : 37(7)13
  • Amukele TK, Hoofnagle AN, Astion ML
    Use of a resident on-call database to characterize failures in communicating critical laboratory results.
    19498048 Clinical chemistry , 2009 Aug. : 55(8)1590-1
  • Reed RC, Kim S, Farquharson K, Astion ML
    A 2-year study of patient safety competency assessment in 29 clinical laboratories.
    18480014 American journal of clinical pathology , 2008 June : 129(6)959-62
  • Edlefsen KL, Tait JF, Wener MH, Astion M
    Utilization and diagnostic yield of neurogenetic testing at a tertiary care facility.
    17446330 Clinical chemistry , 2007 June : 53(6)1016-22
  • Hoofnagle AN, Chou D, Astion ML
    Online database for documenting clinical pathology resident education.
    17040954 Clinical chemistry , 2007 Jan. : 53(1)134-7
  • Goodyear N, Kim S, Reeves M, Astion ML
    A 2-year study of Gram stain competency assessment in 40 clinical laboratories.
    16482988 American journal of clinical pathology , 2006 Jan. : 125(1)28-33
  • Yuan S, Astion ML, Schapiro J, Limaye AP
    Clinical impact associated with corrected results in clinical microbiology testing.
    15872240 Journal of clinical microbiology , 2005 May : 43(5)2188-93 PMCID: PMC1153769
  • Kim S, Reeves M, Astion ML
    Web-based method for establishing national competency benchmarks in fourteen areas of clinical laboratory services.
    15044332 Clinical chemistry , 2004 Apr, : 50(4)753-5
  • Astion ML, Shojania KG, Hamill TR, Kim S, Ng VL
    Classifying laboratory incident reports to identify problems that jeopardize patient safety.
    12866368 American journal of clinical pathology , 2003 July : 120(1)18-26


Presentations Title Event Location Date
Laboratory Testing Could be Hazardous to Your Health: A Look at Test Utilization for Autoantibody Testing Autoimmune Congress Asia Singapore 2011
Impact of Neglected Human Resource Issues on Laboratory Quality POLQM Quality Symposium Vancouver, BC 2011
Putting Power into Patient Safety Interventions in the Clinical Laboratory Emory University Dept of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Grand Rounds Atlanta, GA 2010