Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Education Opportunities in Quality (2 new and valuable finds)

I am putting together my thoughts about what’s new in Education opportunities in laboratory quality and I came across a new book “Quality Assurance in the Pathology Laboratory: Forensic, Technical, and Ethical Aspects” edited by MJ Bogusz and published a few months ago by CRC Press.  Let me say at this time that (a) it is an excellent book and (b) I am going to offer an unsolicited critique on Saturday, and (c ) I suspect that it will be a book that we soon will find on most of our bookshelves.  But more on this later.

Thinking only about Canada laboratory education has always been an orphan subject.  Every once in a while, over the last 40 years there would be some discussion on the subject but it was rarely done in anything other than an uninstructed fashion.  Until 2003.

In Canada, the publication of ISO 15189 in 2003 generated a lot of interest, perhaps more as a curiosity, but almost right from the beginning organizations recognized a new niche for educational opportunities.  Organizations such as the Michener Institute in Toronto started to provide educational courses, primarily for folks living in or around Toronto.  We saw opportunity for a broader audience by providing our on-line UBC Certificate Course in Laboratory Quality Management which has become both popular and well received.  Both of these courses were primarily designed to provide basic but key information to provide working laboratorians with the knowledge to take on roles for the newly created positions called Quality Managers.  
That niche has become supplemented with a variety of shorter term on-line webinars from CLSI and American Society for Quality and the Ontario Laboratory Accreditation (OLA) program.  
To date we are not seeing that niche becoming saturated.  there are many folks still seeking that information, now not only within Canada but abroad.  What began as a program focused on technologists has become popular with administrators, laboratory pathologists and laboratory pathology residents.  

But the next dimension has already begun.  We started to receive requests to provide opportunities from more extensive study and opportunities to become engaged in research.  Folks around the world are beginning to recognize that Quality in the laboratory is not just a flavor of the day, but is indeed the new discipline we have been talking about.  And a focus for attention and study and career.  This is very exciting.  Today we are finding a smattering of Masters level programs directly addressing laboratory quality in the US and soon ours in Canada, along with some others that may provide information on Quality as part of a MBA or a Masters in Health Administration or Masters in Public Health or in Leadership.

This week I was introduced to what I think is something that Europeans do so well.. a Masters program in Quality in Laboratory Quality provided by a consortium of SIX universities from Portugal, Spain (2), Norway, Poland, and China (!)  It functions interestingly as a on-site (as opposed to on-line) program with a requirement for study, and research and a thesis.
It seems to cover a broad spectrum of knowledge; indeed on paper it looks almost identical to the subject matter that we are proposing for our program.  From discussion I understand that it has been running for 2-3 years with about 30 students a year, which would put very intensive demands on teaching faculty and research facilities.
As I mentioned, I had not heard anything about this course until a few days ago.  I suspect that I am not alone.

For folks thinking that this might be an interesting focus of study today, I recommend you to check out

For those that are still thinking about it, but not ready to commit just yet,I am looking forward to our program starting in 2012.

More on Quality Assurance in the Pathology Laboratory in a few days   .

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