Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CMPT Annual General Meeting (Part 2)

Every October for the last 17 years, all the staff, volunteers, and accreditation bodies associated with the Clinical Microbiology Proficiency Testing program (CMPT) come together to discuss the year past, the year present and the year future, and to set both the goals and objectives for going forward and to do the pragmatic planning for the send-out challenges. Over the last 2 days we have enjoyed our 2010 meeting, which will guide us through to the end of the next programmatic year, which ends in May 2012. When we started our annual meetings it was a couple hours together in my living room. Now, with all the things that need discussion and action, the process takes two full days. By now this has become an annual tradition, a lot of work, a lot of decision making, and some socializing. It is clearly our most productive session of the year. It would be difficult to envision running CMPT without this meeting.
This year we had a chance to review some of the research projects that we are working with. The one most directly related to proficiency testing is that we have developed a transport material that will allow us to transport Campylobacter species in fresh simulated stool and have an assured transport survival for 14 days. Pretty good since the best that conventional transport media can do is 48-72 hours. In addition we have collaborated with others on a biofilm susceptibility project and on a number of opinion surveys.

We also talked about our most recent publication "“Progress and Improvement for Identification of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases (ESBLs) through External Quality Assessment". This document presents the progress and improvement in laboratory recognition of ESBLs through targeted samples, educational materials, newsletters, and meeting communications. What we cannot say is whether this progress would have occurred regardless of our having provided our proficiency testing samples, but we know now that medical laboratories that work with us can reliably distinguish between coliforms that are ESBL producers and those that are not, and can report them in a meaningful and interpretive fashion. That is a good thing. For those interested, the article is published in the September 2010 edition of EQA News, the journal of EQALM, the European Proficiency Testing interest group.

As with most Quality managed programs, our meeting provides a forum and opportunity to discuss our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) along with our Goals and Objectives. All this information is in our annual report (see

CMPT is like many small organizations that participate in the community in a manner that is “way over our weight class”. While we are a small university based program, we provide education, outreach service, and research on a provincial, national, and international basis. Not to pat ourselves on the back too much (OK, maybe a little) we can do this for two reasons; first of all the University provides us the access and flexibility to do the good things that we can do, and second, and probably more important, we are very well organized. While we were bouncing along OK for the first 20 years, our real progress and achievement can be tied directly to our certification to first ISO9001:2000 (in 2002) and now to  ISO9001:2008. Our quality system has kept us sharply in the present, and at the same time focused on the future, and continual improvement, and has allowed us to detect our problems and challenges early, when they have done little damage.

Maybe we would have got to this point of structural success anyways. I doubt it.

For more on essentials of annual meetings, see yesterdays note on challenge selection.

The group assembles for the Annual Meeting.

Speakers at the Annual meeting included Michael Noble, Chair CMPT, Esther Kwok Coordinator CMPT, Michael Allard, Professor and Head Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UBC

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