Quality: Noun or Adjective?
Have you noticed that lately we talk about quality as if it were a noun, rather than an adjective? That quality is viewed as some kind of golden object that we can hold in our hands, turn it over, admire it, value its feel and looks, show it off, put it on display, even sell it, and dare I say, even discard it?
By using quality as a noun, we tend to focus on trying to describe it in concrete terms, marketing it as a product in its own right, rather than focusing on the products or services we are offering. An example might be: "We offer you the best quality." Quality what?
With this in mind, I developed a handy acronym TOURCH (poetic license) that reflects my overall vision about how the concept of quality can be synonymous with the patient care achieved in a clinical laboratory operation. This is by no means a complete list; other acronyms are welcome.
T= Trust..... among staff and management to listen and to learn from each other without recrimination
O= Organization...... necessary for efficient operation and communication. As most of us are Med Techs by profession, need I say more?
U= Understanding....your roles within the laboratory workflow, and your relationship to your coworkers
R= Resources.....to match your needs; includes instrumentation, staffing, training, reagents, space, IT server capacity, etc.
C= Commitment ....to the goals of a the best patient care service possible
H=Honesty....in assessing your lab's strengths and weaknesses; unafraid to identify what needs to be changed
In the coming weeks I will discuss each of these factors and how they play into creating the kind of laboratory that will serve our clients and patients best.