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Healthcare Customer Satisfaction: More Talk AND More Action

Healthcare Customer Satisfaction: More Talk AND More Action Customer satisfaction (Voice of the customer) is a recurrent th...

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Standards Do Not Create Quality.

So I am putting on new course and it gave me the opportunity to shake and shape my thoughts around Quality; to clear the cobwebs.  What I re-discovered was that standards don't create Quality and nor does accreditation or certification.  It is the reverse that is true.  Quality is derived from Principles, some decades and centuries and millennia old that are the real foundation.  

So what are these core Quality Principles and could I put them together in a sufficiently coherent  structure that I could convey them to students?

Here is what I came up with.

Before you can implement a Quality Program,
first you must understand The Quality Principles

While in this course we are focused on issues related to laboratory quality management, it is important to understand that Quality is universal, and independent of sectors and industries.  Quality is driven by underlying principles that put value on error free products and performance and put value on customer and staff needs. 

Quality Principles in one form or another have existed for decades and centuries.  Early evidence of principles the creation of Egyptian Pyramids (3500 BC)  and creation of Greek ships (2500 BC) creation of Roman Coliseum (1000 BC)

Quality Principles are seen in works of Eli Whitney (Interchangeable parts; 1800), Frederick Winslow Taylor (Time and Motion Studies;1890), Henry Ford (Variation control; 1910),  Walter Shewhart (Quality Control; 1920), W. Edwards Deming (Organizational Management;1940), Piggly Wiggly (Just in Time Inventory Management; 1950) , Taiichi Ohno (Waste Reduction;1970), Phillip Crosby (Error and Quality; 1980)

Quality is the underlying theme of key standards and of accreditation, but it is important to remember that standards and certification and accreditation are the products of Quality Principles, and not their source 

Most groups who understood and adopted Quality as a strategy have gone on to succeed; man who decided to take a different path have failed.  

These Quality Principles include:
a.     Know your Structure
b.     Efficient (time and money)
c.     Organized (work to a plan)
d.     Be Faithful to the Purpose
e.     Prevent and Reduce Error
f.       Prevent and Reduce Waste
g.     Take Risk into Account
h.     Open to Learning and Growing
i.       Create Change and Measure Change
j.       Focus on all your staff
k.     Focus of all your Customers

Know your structure. 
Every organization has a structure.  Someone is the “boss”.  Someone answers directly to the boss, and others report to them.  In a healthy organization, everyone knows to whom  they report and who reports to them.  The chain is essential for clarity and  for avoiding cross purpose.

Efficient (time and money)
Respecting time and money means that work gets done on time and within the limits of resources.  Being efficient allows you to be more productive and more effective.

Organized (work to a plan)
Effective work stems from a plan and stays true to the plan through the hills and valleys If change is required, that too should work to and from the plan

Be Faithful to the Purpose
Creation stems from a vision and a purpose.  Deviating from the vision and purpose risks meandering and loss.  Quality activity is fit-for-purpose.

Prevent and Reduce Error
We cannot stop all error, but we can learn from it in a way to prevent it from recurring.  Other errors may occur, but repeated error is opportunity lost.

Prevent and Reduce Waste
We cannot stop all waste, but we can learn from it in a way to prevent it from recurring.  Waste is can be an abuse of resources and cause damage to our plan.

Take Risk into Account
Pushing limits leads can lead to growth and change and progress.  Extending beyond  limits risks collapse and failure.  

Open to Learning and Growing
If an organization is providing opportunities for all to learn and grow, then the organization risks stagnation.

Create Change and Measure Change
Change is good, but only if it is measured.  If you don’t know how you got to here, then you can’t know what you will be leaving.

Focus on all your staff
Your staff are your business.  Without them you will fail.  Know and understand and respect your staff.

Focus of all your Customers
Without customers, your business will fail.  Know and understand and respect your customers.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sharing knowledge for better laboratories.

As I move more actively towards my retirement from my university career, I find myself thinking about what I have enjoyed doing the most under the university banner.   

One of my most significant mentors talked regularly about university activity as being like a  three-legged chair; with the legs being education, research and outreach.  At its best, university life is inherently unstable, but if one is active in all three aspects, the chair can remain intact, but if one of the three legs is ignored or broken, the whole university experience will assuredly falls apart.  I have always seen the wisdom in this and have spent my career ensuring that I am engaged in all three, to the extent possible, all the time.   

For me, I think the piece that I have always enjoyed the most has been outreach both inside and outside the university confines. 
Putting on conferences and workshops is a big part of outreach and education.  Attending conferences is a big part of education and research because conferences and workshops can be the cornerstone of new ideas and new knowledge.  Combining the two becomes a triple-win experience.

So this October 23 we will be continuing with our tradition of October Quality Conferences, on the theme: Medical Laboratory Quality Improvement: Knowing Your Customers. 

This may seem to be a unusual theme for a department of pathology but for Laboratory Medicine knowing and understanding who is your customer is vitally important.   

Over the past two decades healthcare has put the banner on the wall “We are Committed to Patient-Centred Care” but for too many these are only words.  Listening and discussing with those who have actually attached actions to the words is a day well spend.  

So we will be talking about technology assisted satisfaction monitoring, and hearing from laboratories that have moved from theory to practice.   We will be hearing about Kano and Service Excellence and how this can be applied as another step forward in improvement.  

There are a few spots not yet finalized.  If you have some thoughts let me know.  I don't promise paying your way to Vancouver to attend and present, but I can guarantee we will listen. 

This is not our first Quality Conference, but we will be trying out something new (for us).  
Coming to Vancouver in the age of expensive airfares and cities with choking street congestion can be difficult to justify, even if there is a really interesting show to see.  So this year we are planning to provide streaming video for those unable to physically attend. It will not provide all the same experiences with full and open dialogue, but you will still be a part of the experience.

For those interested, keep your eye on: http://polqm.med.ubc.ca/2018-polqm-conference/ or better still go there now and register at the early-bird rate.