Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting Started

Most Medical Laboratories are stuck in a 1980’s mindset, quality is something that accreditation bodies push to keep themselves busy and important. Or, quality is Lean/Six Sigma, and that means consultant and a money drain. Wrong on both accounts.

The approach to Quality comes in many guises: ISO9000, or ISO17025, or ISO15189, or Lean, or Six Sigma, or PDSA, or Malcolm Baldrige, but it all comes down to the same thoughts, energy, and creativity of the same Quality Giants, Walter Shewhart, W. Edwards Deming, Phillip Crosby and Joseph Juran.

1. Quality is a planned event suffers and fails in spontaneity.

2. Quality grows and prospers within a Culture of Quality, and fails in its absence.

3. The only acceptable level of medical laboratory error is ZERO error.

4. Quality is both continuous and cyclic.

5. Quality programs save time, effort, energy and money. Absence of quality programs fritters them all.

6. Quality always works from within and rarely works from without. Waiting for accreditation review is always too little and too late (Actually I don’t think that any of the aforementioned actually said that… But they should have).

So reach into the pile of books and literature, and commit to getting started. And get engaged in the process.  Spend a little money with a consultant, and tell them what you want and what you expect.    The money will all come back in the form of savings from costs of poor quality. More on this later.

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