Document Type


Publication details

Burnett, L 2002, 'Applications of quality management in pathology laboratories', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright L Burnett 2002


Objective: To assess the feasibility of applying Quality Management philosophies and techniques to pathology laboratories.
Design: Series of case studies.
Setting: Two tertiary referral pathology laboratories in Australian University teaching hospitals.
Intervention: Application of Continuous Quality Improvement techniques to complex laboratory processes; Implementation of formal Quality Systems into laboratories; Introduction of a new Laboratory Information System.
Measurement: Measurement of changes in key performance indicators.
Results: Statistically significant improvements in a variety of key performance indicators, reduction in frequency of incidents, and improvement in surrogate clinical outcomes were achieved using Quality Management approaches in pathology laboratories. Comparison of environments associated with introduction of a new Laboratory Information System identified the presence of a formal Quality System as a key factor associated with superior laboratory performance.
Conclusion: Quality Management can be applied successfully to a variety of pathology laboratory environments, and can result in significant improvements in product and service quality. A key success factor in implementing Quality Management may be the introduction of a formal Quality System.