In any lab environment, especially a clinic, it’s vital that everything runs smoothly and efficiently. The best way to go about this is by preventing problems before they have the chance to appear through a strong quality assurance process.
So, what is quality assurance, why is it important, and how can you make sure your laboratory implements it effectively? Keep reading for everything you need to know about laboratory quality assurance!
What is Laboratory Quality Assurance?
Laboratory quality assurance is the process of carefully monitoring your lab’s practices and functions, and proactively taking corrective measures wherever necessary. When trying to ensure the efficiency of your laboratory, look for a few key factors, such as efficiency, quality of work, and adherence to safety procedures.
This process is distinct from the process of quality control, as while quality control corrects an issue, quality assurance is meant to prevent issues entirely. If you notice any gaps in your lab’s quality assurance process, it may be necessary to move on to quality control.
However, maintaining your quality assurance process will keep these incidents few and far between.
Implementing Quality Assurance
So, with the importance of quality assurance in mind, what needs to be done to implement it into the clinical lab environment? The first and most important step is to establish standard operating procedures, or SOPs, throughout the lab.
You can’t be everywhere at the same time, so in the event of a mishap, your employees need to know what corrective measures they need to take.
Your lab should have procedures for common incidents in a hospital or clinical environment, allowing employees to keep a level head and respond quickly in the event of these incidents. In addition, there should be procedures in place to document these incidents.
Keeping a detailed record will not only protect you in the event of legal issues, but allow you to analyze what caused issues to occur, how effectively the employees responded, and how the issue can be prevented in the future.
To ensure your employees can uphold the high standards necessary for the function of your lab, you should implement some sort of continuing education or proficiency test, making sure that everyone is prepared with the practical knowledge required to keep things up and running. Keep track of each employee’s performance, both on whatever tests you administer and within the standard 9-5.
Finally, don’t be afraid to delegate your work! As mentioned earlier, you can’t be everywhere at once, so putting all the pressure on yourself to uphold the quality assurance process is going to be unreasonably difficult.
With measures in place to ensure your employees are up to the task, it’s in everyone’s best interest to let them handle most quality assurance themselves. With more eyes on the inner workings of your laboratory, there’s a much lower chance of small details falling through the cracks.
How Does Quality Assurance Affect Labs?
Finally, let’s go over what a solid quality assurance system will do for you and your lab in general. To put it simply, the system you have in place can be the difference between a perfectly functioning lab and a lab on the verge of shutting down.
Without effective quality assurance measures in place, the vast majority of your time will be wasted on crisis management, taking your efforts away from research and other important lab work.
Your lab will be able to function much smoother with an effective system in place, so you and your team won’t have to worry about the next issue to arise, avoiding delays, frustration, and unnecessary effort. Though setting up a proper system takes effort upfront, it’ll take a massive weight off your shoulders later down the line, so making that investment now is well worth the effort.
Are You Looking for an Industry-Standard Lab Setup?
When you implement a new quality assurance system, it’s important to make sure your lab equipment is up to the task. Both your procedures and the setup you use to execute those procedures have to meet the elite standards expected of a professional laboratory.
If you’ve finished implementing procedural changes and believe your lab needs a bit of a facelift, you need to be sure you’re getting your equipment from the best.