Sunday, December 26, 2010

Predictions in Qualitology - 2011

As the year slowly creeps to a close and the next year gallops forward, I start to wonder what 2011 will look like for medical laboratory quality.

1: Flavor of the decade?
It is unlikely that Quality is going off the agenda in the next while in health care.  Across Canada the media has decided to keep an eye on the laboratories, waiting for the bad thing to happen.  We are unlikely to disappoint. 
This will put increasing pressure on provincial governments and maybe (but unlikely) Ottawa. 
Organizations like the Royal College will have a hard time turning away.

The validity of Crosby will ring true in health: the costs of non-conformance, in NOT doing it right the first time, are too high.  I don't know if we will ever actually achieve zero tolerance for error, but 2011  will be a pressure point.

2: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
As the world comes out of recession and folks again have money to spend, the jobs will return.  This will be true in both the private and the public sector.  Near the top of the list will be the positions postponed or sacrificed along the way.  People over machines.  Buying bigger and better analyzers is unlikely to be seen as the best way forward.  But institutions will still be cautious and a major priority will be effective use of money and more effective monitoring. 
And that will mean more interest for more quality team positions.
Add to this, increasing political pressures (as mentioned above) and there will be even more Quality positions.  Think of 2011 and 2012 as the equivalent of what SARS did for Infection Control.

3: Knowledge is King.
In Canada, we had our Royal College meeting and the importance of shared knowledge in Quality was seen as priority number ONE.  In the US the audience for quality is growing, as is the number of laboratories seeking supplemental accreditation.  The number of folks coming to our training programs is increasing from around the world.  So the message is clear in healthcare that more folks need more information, and we will see the sharers of the that knowledge in more demand.
Again as mentioned above, the wave of new positions will require a wave of new educational opportunities.
Universities and Colleges will become more actively engaged in Quality.

4: Conferences - maybe
Organizations are increasingly leery of  conferences as good vehicles for continuing education.  Airfares, hotels, meals are very expensive.  So how does this fit with Knowledge is King".

First the number of on-line courses and conferences and confabs will increase using a wider array of communication tools that will promote connectivity.  Video conferencing, collective conversation,creative use of networking software will be an increasing part of the on-line education experience.
Second, when conferences are held, they will attracting an audience will be tougher as folks get more selective.
The conferences that survive will be fewer but better.

Successful conferences will be the ones in the right place, and the right time, with the right information, and the right contacts. For example, Vancouver in June at the POLQM Quality Weekend Workshop (visit )

So I'm looking forward towards an exciting year coming up with lots to keep us all busy.
See you next year!


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