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Sunday, June 3, 2012

June is Quality Month


There is so much (maybe too much?) happening on my Quality front in the few weeks.  I don’t think that I could have avoided this log jam through better planning or calendar management.   Sometimes, and the expression goes, things happen.


It is final examination time for our on-line Certification Course for Laboratory Quality Management.   I am marking answers on standards development, quality partners, quality associated definitions, and the strengths and weaknesses of proficiency testing.  The other faculty are all doing their fare share as well.  Fortunately Maggie and Doug, our coordinator and IT specialist have figured out a way to automate and improve our ease of electronic access to the responses.  It is probably saving me at least 2 hours on the grading process which likely will mean less stress and a more enjoyment in marking.  So far, I am really impressed with the answers that I have graded.  It is interesting and encouraging to see how much Quality information the participants have accumulated over the last 6 months.


Next week is all back-to-back-to-back meetings.  First is the Annual meeting of the Canadian Standards Association and there are going to be some very interesting meetings for leaders of Strategic Steering Committees to look at ways that we can benefit from each others experiences and perhaps find ways to harmonize activities across some pretty diverse industry boarders.


At the same meeting CSA is holding a first Canadian Academic Challenge, which will in some way I suspect connect with the World Standards Academic Day that was just held in Bali.   There is no doubt that CSA needs to find ways to better and more strongly connect with academia and the student and young faculty pool.  The reality of the currently active  standards community is that it is getting older, and the gomers (me included) need to start looking to the next younger group if we want to sustain a Quality presence.


The day after the CSA meeting there will be two days of meetings as the Canadians involved with ISO Technical Committee 176, the committee responsible for ISO9001:2008 start to prepare proposals to revise and amend that document.  This will be a very interesting exercise because the document is very mature.  But if the document does not undergo its own continual improvement process, then what will that say about its role as the very cornerstone of Quality.  Change and Improve, or Die.


And the day after the ISO TC 176 meeting is the joint meeting of the Canadian Society for Clinical Chemistry (CSCC) and its Quebec sister society (QSBC).  This meeting is being focused on the changes that are happening in Quality for medical laboratories across Canada.   There will be a substantial national and international presence and I am looking forward to being one of the keynote speakers, hoping that I remember to not burn myself out at all the other meetings being held throughout the week.


And then when I get back we start with the new cycles for our CMPT proficiency testing Annual Meeting (October) and our celebration of our 30th anniversary of provision of high quality proficiency testing services and 11th year of the Program Office for Laboratory Quality Management, and hopefully receive some positive news about our current grant proposals.  


In the next short while I will be announcing some pretty exciting changes that will start next year in our Certificate Course.


And we need to get started preparing the ISO Technical Committee 212 meeting in Berlin, and for a new PhD student intending to focus his research and study on medical laboratory Quality management.  He will be arriving in Vancouver in August.  I am pretty sure that he will be the first person in Canada to take on Quality management as a focus of primary interest.   I suspect I will hear more when I attend the Canadian Academic Challenge meeting.


My personal opinion is that this sort of pace of activities is about to become our new normal.  After a brief break in July we will be working at this sort of pace for the next 6 months, probably longer.  It may indeed go on for years.   


It seems the light has turned on in Canada and we are new starting to see all the huge benefits of being engaged in laboratory Quality at every level; a Quality explosion perhaps.


I call that a good thing.

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