Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA) activities in anatomic pathology are embedded into the daily work. These efforts are put into place to assist with error reduction and prevention and for improved patient safety. No one denies their value.
“Without quality, there is no safety.”
Richard C. Friedberg, MD, PhD
President, College of American Pathologists*
Managing QA activities, however, can be a challenge in the daily workflow of an anatomic pathology laboratory. Surgical Pathology Case Reviews occur on a daily basis. The data from these efforts, including discrepancy rates and corrective actions, are not only required by accrediting agencies, they are a key component to your quality management plan and help identify opportunities for improvement.
While the value of these activities is recognized, the logistics are not simple. Colleagues assisting with intra-departmental consultations can be down the hall, in another building or at another campus. Slides must be transported between locations, and the work and follow-up actions must be documented. Monitoring the data to identify trends is also a challenge. Data might be recorded in the patient record, in a logbook or on a notepad. A centralized database to contain this information can be difficult to set up and maintain.
How to manage these case reviews more effectively?
Corista’s DP3® provides an environment to create and manage your QA reviews, be they intra or extra-departmental consultations, with the resulting data preserved. Cases are shared electronically and results are immediately available to the originating pathologist responsible for the case.
Pathologists can discuss and collaborate to resolve case specific issues on-line, in real time and sharing screen control as needed. Regions of interest or in question may be annotated for review. Whether the pathologists are in the same building or in different cities, location is no longer an issue. This collaboration not only benefits the patient by providing more accurate diagnoses more quickly, but pathologists also benefit by direct access to their specialist colleagues.
DP3 maintains the documentation of each QA review, including the pathologists involved, when the review was performed, the results of the review and any corrective action taken in the event of a discrepancy. Statistics are maintained in real time and may be downloaded into a spreadsheet for managing the data. Access to this data is invaluable whether for the lab’s monthly QA discussions or the inspection team as they walk through the lab door.
In addition to providing an overview of the laboratory’s performance, the data may be sorted by date, outcome or even pathologist to assist in identifying performance trends. Process and workflow issues become more apparent, and individual pathologist’s data may be used to provide documentation for competency evaluations such as the Joint Commission’s Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluation (OPPE) used throughout the United States.
Gone are the days of managing QA logs and notebooks!
With real time data available to your Quality Management Team, the goal of error reduction and prevention can be managed more quickly and effectively. And with the resulting improvements in the quality of our surgical pathology reports, we achieve a higher level of patient safety.
Click here for your copy of Corista’s “Quality Assurance: Surgical Case Review” and see how DP3 can help manage your pathologists’ QA.
*Qihui "Jim" Zhai, MD, Gene P. Siegal, MD, PhD. Quality Management in Anatomic Pathology, Strategies for Assessment, Improvement, and Assurance. 2017. Page 5.