Thursday, April 28, 2005

Establishing Meaningful Laboratory Performance Indicators Using Quality Systems Thinking

Joan M. Carlson, Laboratory Services, Capital Health - University of Alberta Hospital, WMC 4B1.21, 8440-112 St, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Establish meaningful laboratory performance indicators to be used for improvement processes and create a laboratory quality report to document improvements to laboratory service.

Faced with numerous measures to monitor performance, how does a laboratory quality group decide on the most useful indicators to be used to improve quality?

Initially the Laboratory at the University of Alberta Hospital was gathering measures through various methods ( manual records, sampling, LIS) an extensive list of performance indicators. These were chosen at pre-analytic, analytic and post-analytic phases across the laboratory's path of workflow.
The list proved too lengthy and overwhelming for the laboratory quality group to focus on improvement efforts. The concept "it's not what you find, it's what you do about what you find" ( quote - Philip Crosby) was adopted by the laboratory quality group.
Setting: 600 bed University referral hospital with reference laboratory
The laboratory quality group consists of the laboratory directors, administrative director, quality manager, department managers, site educator and quality coordinator with support from the Laboratory Information Systems analyst.
Outcome Measures: Establish quality objective teams, measure performance and improvement, report overall quality improvement activities in the laboratory.

The Laboratory quality group drew upon quality systems thinking to focus on performance indicators that guide process improvement activities. Eleven quality objectives were created to help define the important indicators required to affect quality improvement, reducing the list of indicators to a more meaningful and manageable quantity for review.

Laboratories can use quality system concepts to choose indicators to monitor and improve laboratory processes.

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See more of The 2005 Institute for Quality in Laboratory Medicine Conference