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Saturday, January 15, 2011

So many things to do - so little time!

January is the beginning of my busy season.  The Resident Quality Seminar Series is on, the UBC on-line certificate course in Laboratory Quality Management begins, and it is grant and project season. 
Fortunately all these things are linked and so they can all blend.

We had Week 2 of the Resident Seminar Series 2 days ago and addressed discussion on Laboratory Error, Costs of Poor Quality and Introduction to Standards.  The information was good to put together, and started to generate a lot of group discussion which is Extra Good. 

One slide created a lot of discussion.  From my own work, which I think I have mentioned before, when reported incidences are invested in total, the time to fix an error can range from 20-1000 minutes with a mean time of 130 minutes.  One second to create and 2 hours to fix. 
If you take that and put it into context of FTE time in a variety of settings (small, intermediate, large, and super laboratories) the number of error correlates with size, although not necessarily in a direct linear fashion.  More importantly the cost of error goes up.
If you think of a superlaboratory with 250 personnel providing multi-discipline services (chemistry, hematology, bloodbank, microbiology, anatomic pathology, immunohistochemistry, etc) for a distributed network of facilities  30-40 errors a day would be not atypical. 
The attached looks at percentage of total FTEs that spend their time fixing errors.  What the proponents of laboratory consolidation see is that as the laboratory size goes up, the percent of total FTE working on error goes down.  That is a good thing.  But when the global budget is $200M and 10 percent of the laboratory forces is spending its time fixing errors, that is one HUGE chunk of money.
My point is that many errors are preventable through an effective Quality Management system. 
Regardless on what is spend implementing the QMS, as Quality improves the number of errors will go down and there will inevitably be considerable cost savings.


m

PS:
The POLQM Quality Weekend Workshop is coming together extremely well.  All the speakers are in place and we are starting to get traction at the URL www.POLQMWeekendWorkshop.ca 
We have had our first early registrations.
June 17-19, 2001 is a ways off, but this is going to be a GREAT workshop.

m

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