Of particular concern was the labs need for more effective document control. This concern was founded on three points: firstly, in order to comply with accreditation, labs need to have an effective document control system in place. That is, each document must be created, updated, approved and archived in specific ways otherwise the lab will have deficiencies on their checklists. Secondly, although the Lakeridge Health lab had the required policies and procedures (P & Ps) in place, they were published in paper-based binders. Lab management knew that if they could improve access to P & Ps across all laboratory sites and enable online keyword searches, they would save time for lab staff that needed to get to that information quickly and easily. Finally, the time-consuming process of document revisions (including ensuring the documents were kept up to date, routing the document through the approval workflow, getting the revisions published, and archiving out-of-date versions) had long frustrated the labs management. Apart from being necessary for accreditation, more effective document control would help the lab save FTE time on accessing and managing the labs 2000+ documents and standardize the process across all sites.
Accreditation measures a labs quality management
Because accreditation is essentially a validation of the effectiveness of the labs quality management system, Thurber realized that efficient accreditation management correlates to efficient quality management. We had the right documents and processes in place to guide and measure our quality performance, says Thurber, but we needed