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Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Canadian Sleeping Giant has awoken (maybe)


It is a recurring theme in MMLQR that laboratories have 7 Quality Partner groups (Standard Development, Accreditation, Proficiency Testing, Educators, Professional Organizations, and Equipment and reagent suppliers, and the Public), with the Public manifested by the media, the regulators and the legislators having the biggest impact because one they get turned on, things happen.  Not necessarily the most appropriate things, and not necessarily the best things, but things change.

It was therefore of interest that over the last two days there have been 2 big headlines directly associated with Canadian Laboratory Quality.  (see http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Clinical+errors+under+microscope+during+national+conference+surgical/3683674/story.html and http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Pathologists+work+thin+edge+between+death+life/3680244/story.html
Both of these are “puff pieces” written for (or by) the Canadian Association of Pathologists (CAP) as they promote their particular interest in presenting guidelines for pathology.  This CAP (please note this is not the College of American Pathologists) is a professional organization and therefore in my classification also a Quality Partner.  I think they will ultimately succeed as the work with groups with broader based credibility in laboratory quality. 
But it is not so much our CAP that I am interested in, and more it is about the Vancouver Sun and the Montreal Gazette, both of which are credible newspapers.   Indeed it is my understanding is that these two articles appeared in a variety of newspapers across the country.  So it is really encouraging to see that these major newspapers have the internal structure and personnel that can actually understand why laboratories are important and why laboratory quality is important, and why medical laboratory poor quality can not be tolerated, or even worse, ignored.

What will be interesting to see is whether or not these articles are sufficient to move our legislators and regulators to support and endorse a real action plan to promote laboratory quality.

Canadian laboratories are similar to what you see in many places in the world.  When it comes to Quality they are very good at “talking the talk”.  A little Lean, and little Accreditation, and a little Proficiency Testing, but little to support the real substance of infrastructure and Quality Management. 

So we will see what happens… “talking the talk” or “walking the walk”.  

Fingers Crossed.
m

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