Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Quality Confab – Part 2

The other day I wrote a brief note on one aspect of one presentation from the Quality Confab which was held this year in San Antonio, Texas which among other things is the home of the Alamo where the conflict between Mexico and the Republic of Texas occurred.  (We can probably blame Walt Disney for confusing us, but this battle of the Alamo occurred almost a decade before Texas became part of the United States.  But I digress!)
In any event, San Antonio is a great location for a great meeting.  Lots of good meeting hotels, and lots of great restaurants.

The Confab has become over the last 4 years, perhaps the single most important meeting for the medical laboratory Quality community in North America.  As much as it is dominated by US issues, such as CLIA and CAP, the reality is that it is the Canadian presence that is leading the way.  Each year Canadian laboratories win top prizes in the poster presentations, and each year Canadian presenters are front and centre.  Sometimes, unfortunately that Canadian spotlight is not exclusively from a positive perspective.  This year for example there was a lot of attention on the problems of Eastern Health in Newfoundland and Laborador, as well as the Quality challenges in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.   (The Americans must have wondered about all these strange named places and what do they have to do with a meeting in Texas!).
On the other hand, the Accreditation Program of Ontario go a ton of good attention, as did the Program Office for Laboratory Quality Management (and this blog), and also so very positive comments about LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services in Ontario.  

The meeting follows a certain pattern with “plenary” sessions in the morning and “breakout” sessions in the afternoon, and enough break time for interaction. 

If I have any problem with the meeting, it has to do with the Question and Answer time at the end of each presentation.  Now I will tell you that Q&A is ALWAYS problematic because some audience folks, left to their own inclinations, get to an audience microphone and use the time to pontificate rather than ask focused questions.  So Robert has gone the other direction and requires all questions to be scribbled on to cards rather than being verbal.  But this inhibits questions and questions and discussion.  So I guess we have not yet figured how to do Q&A well, yet.   

But if that is the only problem that I have with this meeting, then it is fair to say that I have no problems at all.  And that is about as RIGHT as you can get.

So congrats to Robert Michel for hosting the meeting, and congrats to the Quality community for finding and supporting it.


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