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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

POLQM Course 2012


Our course begins on January 11th and we have closed admissions.  This is going to be a great year.  We have had a 20 percent increase in participant intake and our geographical spread involves North America, Central America, the Middle East and Asia.  It is truly an around-the-world experience.

I get a number of messages from this.  First, that the interest in Quality in the medical laboratory continues to grow and second this growth is not limited to one country or one region.   I could say that experience says that this growth and interest is tied to the use of ISO15189:2007 (Medical laboratories – particular requirements for quality and competence) as an international foundation for Quality in the medical laboratory, but my argument would probably be biased.  ISO 15189 was first published in 2003, the year before our course began, so it would be more fair to say that the two have grown up together. The reality is that the course offers a broader view of Quality than just international standards.

Growing up or maturing is a good way to think about our course.  Over the years it has continued to evolve.  When we started it was mostly about international standards.  Over time we built in discussions about the Quality tool box (including Lean and Six Sigma) and Quality Partners and Costs of Poor Quality.  This year the addition has to do with Quality and sustainability and a bit on the US system known as Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)  In many ways the course today is very different from what we offered back in the beginning. 

On a technical side we have gone through 3 versions of course software, each with its own improvements.  And this year we are adding in private viewing course video clips via YouTube to help the course continue along a progress line. 

So to be fair, and albeit a little biased,  both technically and content wise the course is not only different, it is better.

To that point over the last few years we have offered a variety of renewal options for folks that took the course in the early years and who continue to be engaged in Quality management.  To date there have been no takers.  I could interpret this as a negative, but in the absence of information I prefer to interpret this more positively.  Because our course is less about a specific how-too and more about reading and thinking and engaging in conversation we strive to create a community of folks who do progressive learning.  By remaining in contact with the folks from their group (I know that happens) the group continues to teach itself.  Thus the reason that they do not feel the need to come back to us for a refresher is because they are doing that on their own. 

I understand that point of view.  While our course is not unfairly priced, it is not free, and for many getting access to education support is harder than it should be.  If money is going to be spent to upgrade knowledge, there should be an upgrade in qualification.  So with that in mind, we are making a lot of progress towards the University of British Columbia Masters in Laboratory Quality Management (MLQM).  I see this as an option to others Masters programs that the university offers including a Masters in Business Administration, a Masters in Health Administration, and a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Management in Operational Research.  Some might see these as competitive but I see them as complementary, each with a different focus but all bringing a new dimension to Health environment. 

The UBC MLQM will be a two-year program of education, experience and research.  It will be available both as a primarily on-line and a primarily on-site experience suitable for people with backgrounds in Quality, administration, technology and medicine.  The Masters qualification will have the ability to lead to a PhD.

If we stay on track we will start to intake participants either in the fall of 2012 or the spring of 2013. 

Bottom line:  For those interested in learning more about Quality with a medical laboratory focus, there are now options which over the short term will grow.  The notion of learning on ones own or on the job or off the side of the desk is pretty much unnecessary, and might I add, not optimal.  We can do it better.

PS:    Registration for the 2012 UBC Certificate Course is now closed.


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