Saturday, July 14, 2012

Exciting Changes in POLQM

I regularly mention our certificate course in laboratory quality management, not only because I teach it, but because over the years it has been one of the most successful contributors to laboratory Quality Management in Canada and in many places around the world.  Over the years I suspect there is only one other course that has certified more Quality Managers of a general nature, but none more successful than ours which focuses on medical laboratories.  
It is clear that it is very valuable in the minds of the participants that take the course.  [see ]

I think the key to our success is that the core of the course remains essentially the same.  The course remains as a small group virtual classroom course with heavy emphasis on peer and faculty interaction, but at the same time there are substantial changes every year.  We have broadened the scope of the course, added new faculty, added in more challenges in the form of discussion and assignments, and introduced better technology, including video clips and YouTube.  All the change means that the faculty can not address each year as the same-old.  They have to keep it fresh.

If there has been one area that I have taken personal pleasure in, it has been the participation of pathologists and resident students.  While the numbers are still small, it means that the awareness and engagement of top management in the medical laboratory is happening, and the participation of residents in the course means that the concepts of Quality are going to be present going forward. What a change that will be!!

For the January 2013 course we will be extending the course for an additional week to focus some time on Quality tools that go beyond Quality Indicators.  These will be education oriented tools that enhance local training, and help foster a Culture of Quality.  

Last year we were able to strike an arrangement through Standards Council of Canada to provide participants with free access to a collection of 5 international standards that can have significant impact on the Quality processes for their clinical laboratories anywhere in the world.  This year that program will be expanded to up to 10 standards.  That benefit alone is worth approximately $1300.  It is an extremely generous program by Standards Council of Canada.  

We are working with several other standards development bodies to have some similar arrangements.  

Registration starts in September 2012   

We are looking to increase the course size up to 40 participants this year, but will not go any higher because it could impact on the degree of peer and faculty interaction that occurs.  
We regularly make changes but only those that will enhance education but only if they are consistent with continual Quality Improvement.

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