Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Communicating Quality

Time was, not that long ago, that Quality in the Medical Laboratory was about doing quality control, doing some proficiency testing and calculating DBS units, and "trust me-trust me, we don't make mistakes".  And once in a while there would be an Accreditation walk through.
Over the last several years that has improved considerably, but it was still about as low-profile as a low-profile could get, and still be considered profile.
Then came 1999 and the creation of  To Err is Human, the book that changed the world.  All of a sudden the public started to understand how dangerous health care can be. 
A problem was that the laboratory was excluded from "Err..." but between a whole series of self-induced embarrassments, and the development of some significant international standards (ISO15189 for one) the laboratory figured out that it was time to get engaged.
A lot of individual activities have occurred.  Some accreditation bodies were borne (think OLA) and shot to the top of the heap in Canada.  Others (think DAP in BC) recognized the need and underwent major improvement.  And regions that never had accreditation have started to develop programs.  Good for them.
But it is in the area of communicating quality that we have seen the greatest and most significant change. 
Today, one is hard pressed to attend a laboratory meeting anywhere in Canada that does not have a Quality Session or Seminar.
Two weeks ago there were several Quality sessions at the BC Society for Medical Sciences (BCSLS) conference in Sydney.  Over the next short while we will have the Quality Confab (OK that's not in Canada), but in the first 6 months there will be a meeting in Montreal (AMMI-CACMID) a meeting in Winnipeg (3rd Quality Congress) and a major meeting in Vancouver in June (UBC Week-end Quality Confernce).
This is all good. 
Quality does poorly in isolation and grows with Culture and Culture grows in  direct relationship with the amount of Conversation present.
So I am all for promoting the conversation.

If you send me a notice of your Quality Conference I will publish it as a comment.


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