Pinnacle Lab Quality

Newest Publications

Tips for a Successful CoPQ Intiative

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The CoPQ concept can be useful in demonstrating the financial value provided to a clinical laboratory or hospital by its quality program through the cost avoidance and cost savings realized by eliminating root causes of nonconforming events. Without the interventions enabled by the nonconforming event management system and lab quality program improvement initiatives, the laboratory and/or hospital would continue to experience financial losses for these opportunities, in addition to potential patient safety risks. Further, calculating CoPQ aids laboratory leadership in identifying the often large amount of waste in everyday operations, more effectively triaging nonconforming events for remediation, and in justifying additional investment in quality tools and resources. This article provides useful recommendations to help you implement a CoPQ program in your lab.


Thinking Outside the Box

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Laboratories are constantly seeking to improve their services for the benefit of their patients, but are usually under significant budgetary constraints. Sometimes all that is required to improve patient safety is a little creativity and ingenuity. This article describes a real life case study, with the details changed, highlighting the innovative minds of medical laboratory scientists and their counterparts on the patient-centered care team. This case study highlights the fact that not all quality improvement projects require substantial financial investment or a sophisticated solution. Oftentimes in the laboratory and in healthcare as a whole, we are limited financially. I have encountered countless examples of simple, effective solutions to quality issues in the laboratory. I am constantly impressed by the creativity and resourcefulness of medical laboratory scientists and other healthcare practitioners. 


The confusion about quality

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Quality is a nebulous word. Undoubtedly everyone who works in the clinical laboratory agrees that quality is important, but what exactly does the word mean? How is quality defined, how is it measured, and what does the quality function entail? Complicating matters, the word is commonly conjoined in terms such as quality control, quality assurance, quality improvement, and quality management, which all too often are used interchangeably.  This haze around what constitutes quality in the lab often leads to confusion about the quality role. Therefore, it is important to clearly define the role of the quality  function in the clinical laboratory (often referred to as the Quality Assurance [QA] or Quality Management [QM] department) and to help laboratory leaders optimize this important function. This article presents tried-and-true tips to ensure the success of your lab's quality program. 


Publications

Quality from the Ground Up

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 Increased patient safety, reduction in cost of poor quality (CoPQ), fewer malpractice claims, preparedness for changing reimbursement, regulatory compliance, and differentiation in the marketplace are just a few of the numerous benefits that a comprehensive quality program can afford a clinical laboratory. Establishing a quality management system (QMS) for an existing lab that has never had a quality department or the necessary infrastructure may feel impossible. However, if your laboratory is ready to develop a quality program in order to reap the many long-term benefits, you can do a few key things to increase your chances of success.

Lean Six Sigma is Not Quality

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Lean and Six Sigma typically focus on eliminating waste, reducing variation and improving processes performed to make the service or product itself. Quality Management Systems are more holistic and focus on ensuring that policies, processes and procedures are in place to achieve the organization’s quality goals to meet customer expectations, regulatory requirements and to achieve business excellence. Lean and Six Sigma are continuous improvement tools that can be considered a subset of a QMS. A Quality Management System, whether adopted from a standard or guideline or completely home grown, however, is imperative to a laboratory’s success. 

Decoding Quality Terminology

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 If you run a Google search for the terms “quality assurance” and” quality control”, I am 99% certain your search will return a number of differing definitions. “Quality management”, “Total quality management” and “Quality improvement” are additional terms that are used frequently, adding to the confusion. Many of these terms are often used interchangeably. You may think these terms are more alike than different as they all contain the word “quality”, but they are not synonymous.



Let’s explore some definitions to make sense of this alphabet soup.


Do No Harm: Diagnostic Errors & the Lab

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Trust: The Achilles Heel of Quality Improvement

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Reduction of Overutilization Through LIS Logic

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Moving Beyond the Evidence Binder

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How honesty and transparency can help your lab climb the quality hierarchy

Electronic Nonconforming Event Management

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Robust Document and Document and Record Management

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Benefiting the Lab with Baldrige

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Making Sense of MACRA

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The Lab Quality Continuum

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Cultivating a Culture of Quality

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Don't Shoot the Messenger

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10 Trials of Lab Quality

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Leading for Quality

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