Michael Lee Astion, MD, PhD

Michael Lee Astion, MD, PhD

Laboratory Medicine

On staff since January 2011

Children's Title: Medical Director, Department of Laboratories

Academic Title: Professor

  • Dr. Astion is a clinical pathologist who is Medical Director, Department of Laboratories at Seattle Childrens Hospital and Clinical Professor of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington. 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. 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. In addition, he is one of the founders of PLUGS, the Pediatric Laboratory Utilization Guidance Service, a unique service that helps pediatric hospitals and clinics actively increase the value of lab testing. Dr. Astion is a frequent speaker at professional meetings, where he lectures on issues related to laboratory test utilization; test interpretation; laboratory economics and outreach; and medical errors. His 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)
    AACC Annual Award for Contributions to Education (2014)

    • 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.

  • Manuscripts in Refereed Journals

    • Dickerson JA, Cole B, Conta JH, Wellner M, Wallace SA, Jack RM, Rutledge J, and Astion ML.
      Improving the value of costly genetic reference laboratory testing with active utilization management
      Arch Path Lab Med., 2014 : 138110-113
    • 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
    • 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 April : 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

    Published Abstracts

    • 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

    Other Publications

    • Heim JA, Huang H, Zabinsky ZB, Dickerson J, Wellner M, Astion M, Cruz D, Vincent J, Jack R
      Design and implementation of a combined influenza immunization and tuberculosis screening campaign with simulation modelling.
      26009843 Journal of evaluation in clinical practice, 2015 Aug. : 21(4)727-34
    • Astion ML
      Humanizing Lean in the Clinical Lab
      Clinical Laboratory News, 2015 : 41(7)
    • Dickerson J and Astion M.
      Unnecessary and unintended 1,25 Dihydroxyvitamin D Order Patterns: A Metaphor for Life.
      Clinical Laboratory News, 2015 Jan. : 41(1)(1)22-23
    • Cole, B, Dickerson JA, Graber ML, Fantz CR, Laposata M, Henriksen K, Astion ML, and Epner P.
      A prospective tool for risk assessment of sendout testing.
      Clin Chem Acta., 2014 March 29 : 434C:1-5
    • Astion M
      Reducing Errors in Manual Processes
      Clinical Laboratory News, 2014 : 40(1)
    • Dickerson J, Cole B, Jack R, Astion M.
      Another laboratory test utilization program: our approach to reducing unnecessary 1,25 Vitamin D orders with a simple intervention.
      Am J Clin Pathol, 2014 : 138(1)110-113
    • Dickerson J, Cole, B and Astion ML
      Ten Ways to Improve the Quality of Send-out Testing
      Clinical Laboratory News, 2012 : 38(4)
    • 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

  • Presentations Title Event Location Date
    New Years Resolutions for Laboratory Management American Association for Clinical Chemistry and Roche Diagnostics Laboratory Leadership (L2) National Webinar Broadcast to National Audience of 120 Clinical Laboratories in 35 states. Jan. 6, 2016
    Annual Carl and Susan Smith Endowed Lecture. "A Local and National Intervention to Improve the Utilization of Clinical Laboratory Tests Washington University, Department of Pediatrics Grand Rounds St. Louis, MO March 20, 2015
    Annual Carl and Susan Smith Endowed Lecture: "A Local and National Intervention to Improve the Utilization of Clinical Laboratory Tests". Washington University St. Louis, MO 2015
    "A Local and National Intervention to Improve the Utilization of Clinical Laboratory Tests". Johns Hopkins, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Grand Rounds Baltimore, MD Feb. 24, 2014
    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


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