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Friday, October 15, 2010

A Belated Happy Standards Day.

I receive a regular electronic issue from the Quality Digest (http://www.qualitydigest.com/). Usually some good stuff in it. The other day I received a “copy” with Again, lots of interesting stuff but what really caught my eye was an editorial written by Mike Richman who is the publisher. October 14th is World Standards Day (http://www.qualitydigest.com/inside/quality-insider-column/happy-world-standards-day.html)

Who knew?

Actually it seems that a lot of people knew and know. The first World Standards Day was celebrated in 1970. I am not sure how these things happen, but it seems that it was ISO that declared October 14th as World Standard Day. Either way this year marks 40 continuous years of international recognition, and so regardless of exactly how it got started, it certainly has been very successfully sustained.

Richman points some interesting things about October 14th. Like it is the anniversary date of the meeting when delegates came together in 1946 and formed the International Organization for Standardization. What is perhaps as interesting (for me personally, more interesting) is that October 14th is the anniversary of the birthday of W. Edwards Deming who was born in 1900. I’m more into coincidences that I am into the mystical, but the conjunction of these two events is pretty interesting.

In our classification for Quality, Standards Development Bodies are recognized as one of the seven essential Quality Partners, along with Accreditation Bodies, Proficiency Testing Providers, Educators, Professional Organizations, Equipment and Reagent Suppliers, and the Public. Without these groups, medical laboratories would never be able to progress and improve. 
I have worked with a few Standards Development Bodies including International Organization for Standardization, the Canadian Standards Association, the Canadian General Standards Board. Another organization including the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute would similarly qualify in the same group. Clearly all of them have characteristics in common. They work from basic principles, they work by broad consensus, they avoid, to the extent possible, both the presence and perception of conflict of interest. It is not a perfect process because there is always politics everywhere, but on clear balance, the world is better off because of the presence of international standards.

As ugly as this current recession has been, were it not for international standards, the opportunities for even more non-tariff barriers could have destroyed world trade and fully collapsed the world economy.
So congratulations to those interested in Quality and congratulations to ISO and all our standards development organizations. Keep up the good works.
And perhaps one day we will have a World Quality Partners Day to recognize all the quality partners.

Next year on Friday October 14, 2011 UBC Program Office for Laboratory Quality Management will host a special event.
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PS: For those who care, October 14th is also the anniversary date of Earth Day.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Michael, and thanks for the mention. Yes, lots of the coincidences surrounding World Standards Day on 10/14 are interesting, especially the fact that Deming's birthday falls on the same day. By the way, kudos to you for your advocacy of quality in medical labs. Quality is everyone's job, and it's up to all of us to continually strive for continuous improvement. Keep up the good work!

    -Mike Richman

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