Keeping your laboratory accreditation (& business) safe

Good laboratory quality systems don’t just cover the things that NATA expects to see, they also support the laboratory management to make the right decisions.  Whether you have laboratory accreditation, GLP or ISO 9001 certification, there are some key strategies that I have seen organisations use to protect their accreditation status and their business:

  • Say no to work when it is not right (too much, too little, wrong type, wrong client, wrong time)
  • Train staff members thoroughly before sending them out on their own
  • Replace departing staff members promptly
  • Backfill for staff on extended leave
  • Review their prices regularly
  • Cultivate ideal clients through suitable marketing
  • Know the accreditation requirements and how they are meeting them
  • Have a system in place and follow it
  • Understand the science and measurement traceability behind the tests they do
  • Regularly review their operations, make decisions and follow through
  • Plan changes thoroughly, involving all stakeholders
  • Use incidents and complaints and internal audits to improve their systems

These organisations have happy employees who know they have a secure job.  Staff know they will be given the time to learn before they have to do, and that there is always someone there who knows more than they do.

Celebrating success in lab accreditationWhen NATA comes visiting, they may be nervous but not afraid.  They will be looking forward to showing the laboratory operations to the NATA assessment team and hoping that all their hard work will be obvious.  The discussions with NATA will be engaging and open, and disagreements handled without animosity.

Keep these practices up so you can celebrate after your next laboratory accreditation assessment.

Laboratory quality systems can help

Most of these issues are alluded to in ISO 17025, especially under “Management Review”.  But many labs with long-term NATA accreditation are just going through the motions to tick off on management review rather than finding ways to use these criteria constructively.  Unfortunately, NATA is often not in a position to really push labs on these fundamentals that underlie good laboratory management until it’s too late.

O’Dwyer Accreditation can review your laboratory quality system and help you to identify the risks to be addressed. We provide practical, experience-based advice. Contact us today.