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Basic QC/QA: back to the future.

The 1996 Presidential Commission's Report on the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy summarized its true cause in one sentence: "Faults include a lack of problem reporting requirements and inadequate trend analysis." That quote is also a good analysis of the basic causes of quality control problems in the clinical lab.

In current laboratory terminology, the root cause of this extremely adverse event is inadequate tracking and trending of problems-a/k/a deviations or nonconforming events. CAP, The Joint Commission, FDA, and AABB all recommend, require and/or regulate deviation tracking and trending. After all, the best way to reduce and/or eliminate adverse events is to learn from our mistakes.

Most deviations in the clinical laboratory and blood bank or transfusion service are caught and corrected early enough to prevent serious consequences. Innocuous though they may be, these deviations represent increased processing costs, and decreased efficiency, service response time, and customer satisfaction. If you use tracking-and-trending technology to help investigate the who, what, when, where, and why of these deviations--then leverage this information to identify and correct the cause at the root--you can improve efficiency, cost-effectiveness, service, quality of care, patient satisfaction, and regulatory compliance.

Looking back to the future then, let's envision and work toward a future where we put lessons learned from the Challenger disaster to good use.

George Behr, PhD

Founder & CEO

Nouvation, Inc.

Manufacturer of OTIS-Blood Bank and OTIS-Laboratory

Compiled by MLO staff

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Title Annotation:FUTURE BUZZ: QC/QA; quality control/quality assurance
Author:Behr, George
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Dec 1, 2015
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