Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Great Quality Read

As we prepare for the 15th year of our Program Office for Laboratory Quality Management Certificate Course we have made our regular fine-tuning changes in order to ensure the course continues to be relevant and up to date. 
This year, in addition, we have made a major change; we have adopted Juran's Quality Handbook: The Complete Guide to Performance Excellence, Seventh Edition as our primary reference text.  

There are several reasons for this.  For one, it has just been published and became available in November 2016; it is as current as a textbook can be. 

More importantly it is an excellent read; well designed and laid out.  The text is straight forward and laid out in a well-organized style .  The content is presented in the style commonly referred to as “plain language” (hurray!).  It is both complete and sophisticated and appropriately nuanced.  

In my mind this new Quality Handbook has all the hallmarks of an excellent textbook.  

Granted I am a little further along in my knowledge and motivation on the topic of quality, but even I (with my mild dyslexia and a tendency to easy distraction) can get into reading full chapters at a single go.  If I can do this, I imagine that so will many (or most) of our course participants.

To give credit where credit is definitely due, Joseph A Defeo, the President and CEO of the Juran Institute, not only took on the role of Editor, he also wrote about half (?) of the chapters.  While taking nothing away from the other contributors, having done both writing and editing myself, I know this dual tasking was a major consumer of many, many hours.

My course audience is very focused in healthcare and medical laboratories.  While this book is intended for a more general audience, I find it covers all our key topics, including Culture for Excellence and Quality, Leadership, Costs of Quality and Poor Quality, Risk, Process monitoring, Process improvement, plus, plus, plus in a manner that we will be able to appreciate in the context of  laboratory setting, just as someone in retail, or manufacturing will appreciate in their context.

While the key medical laboratory quality standard ISO15189:2012 (medical laboratories – requirements for quality and competence) does not come up (not even once), the content is this book with respect to ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management Systems – Requirements) is stunning in its completeness and thoroughness.  For my two cents, I have long advocated that while medical laboratories should  appropriately be formally accredited to ISO 15189 (or to the requirements of the College of American Pathologists and CLIA), I think that many (many all) laboratories would be strongly improved if they were to supplement their accreditation with voluntary certification to ISO 9001 [see: ].

There are a few places where the book could be modified to make it a little more relevant to healthcare.  The list includes failure costs such as satisfying warranty claims, investigating complaints, offsetting customer dissatisfaction with a recovery strategy, collecting bad debts and correcting billing errors, which are all reasonable in a manufacturing or retail sector.  But the primary external failure cost in medical laboratories is the time spent in tracing back similarly wrong results, notification of physicians, recall of patients, and potential liability because of actions taken on faulty information.

This book is going to be a great enhancement for our course.  In addition to the fore mentioned there were several other important reasons that we decided to add it to our course library (The cost of the book is built into the course registration.  There is no separate or additional cost to the participants).  

First and foremost it has great content.
Second, all our participants will undoubtedly recognize it as an essential quality reference for years to come. 
Third, it is available both in hardcopy and as an e-book, which means that we can reduce our costs and time losses when shipping books around the world. Delivery of e-books is virtually instantaneous. 
Fourth (an important feature for those participants that are sometimes challenged by things technical, this e-book is very easy to set up on any device.  For eyes, much younger than mine, it will also load on a smart phone).

So for my vote, I give Juran's Quality Handbook: The Complete Guide to Performance Excellence, Seventh Edition a 5 star rating.

Well done.

For those interested,
the POLQM Certificate Course
begins January 11, 2017.
For more information visit ...
and click on the 
LQM2017 link

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