Thursday, July 2, 2020

Training Laboratory Quality Managers for 2021 and beyond

In 2003 two things happened.  In that year the first version of the standard ISO15189:2003 medical laboratories – particular requirements for quality and competence was published.  One of the requirements in the new standard was that medical laboratories were required to have a person in a position referred to as the Laboratory Quality Manager.   
In the same year a new and unique course was started at the University of British Columbia to provide education for those seeking information and insight on what is required and expected for a person interested in becoming a Laboratory Quality Manager. 

That course has continued every year, training people around the world.  Because it is a certificate, non-credit course, people with a variety of backgrounds can take the course and gain the knowledge required.  Over the years we have had laboratory physicians, laboratory doctorate scientists, graduate students, physicians-in-training, research laboratory managers, clinical laboratory supervisors, laboratory technologists, all participate.  

What we require is an understanding of laboratories through 3 years of work experience, and a capability to take and actively participate in an on-line course in English.  (Actually we put on the course in a country where English was neither the first or second language, and it worked remarkably well.)

The course has been immensely successful.  It has attracted people from around the world.  We have had a successful certification rate of about 90 percent.   We have had people who have taken the course, continue to work in laboratory quality and return to the course and become mentors, replacing others who have retired.

There are reasons for our success.
  •     It is on-line and accessible.
  •    The course takes advantage of text, pictures, audio, video multimedia
  • Because it is delivered across many time zones, the access and delivery is primarily asynchronous, meaning that people can work at their time in their time zone, but still have an active and flowing conversation.
  • The course does focus a lot of time on ISO and ISO standards (including ISO15189).  But it also looks at other laboratory quality systems for clinical and research laboratories that are NOT ISO based.
  • It demands active participation by the course planners, and staff, and mentors and participants.  We call it VCOLE: Virtual Classroom On-Line Education.  People’s activity is monitored and if they are away, they are contacted to make sure that remain active.  This is NOT a course where you sit in front of your computer and do a quiz and get your certificate.
  • The course takes 22 weeks to complete (January to June).    It is long enough to gather a lot of knowledge and experience, but short enough that people can continue to work while taking the course.
  • The course provides large group discussion, small group discussion, group projects, individual quizzes and a final examination.  People describe the course as busy, active, demanding and very very positive.  (When people finish the course, they tend to remain in touch with their small group peers who often function as peer Quality colleagues.
  • The course works is developed and delivered using the studied principles of Knowles Andragogy (adult learning).
  • The course is updated and revised every year to ensure that the information is always relevant to the current understanding of laboratory quality. 
  • The course has a “holistic” approach to Quality in that addresses Customers requirements, Testing and Service and Management, and Staff Culture expectations.
We have just finished the 2020 session and are preparing for 2021.
For more information go to:
Registration starts in September 2020
Registration is limited.

PS:  Many Laboratory Directors see value in paying the registration fees for their staff because they understand the value of having a Quality Manager who is knowledgeable, informed, and connected to peers and mentors across their country and around the world.
For what they pay, they get back 10 fold from the savings they derive from reduced expenses due to Poor Quality.


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