APHL's Laboratory System Improvement Program (L-SIP) Update provides information on improving the performance of public health laboratory systems. Please share this update with your system partners and send us information on new experiences, activities or resources related to system improvement.

Winter 2016, L-SIP Update

L-SIP Participant Update: Montana

by Angela Dusko, Laboratory Systems Improvement Specialist, Montana DPHHS Laboratory Services Bureau

In May 2015, Montana held a Laboratory System Improvement Program (L-SIP) reassessment. In September 2015, the Montana Laboratory Forum reconvened to discuss this L-SIP reassessment and explored action items and discussion topics related to the outcomes of the reassessment. Meeting participants divided into breakout groups and were tasked with assessing which of the Essential Services to focus continued efforts of improvement. The overall goal was to identify at least three strategies that were attainable, could be measured for evaluation, and would improve the public health laboratory system.

Using a PowerPoint presentation, the reassessment scores were reviewed and compared. Key element scores from 2008 and 2015 highlighted areas of progress and those with opportunities for improvement.

In the end, participants agreed to four action items to further improve the Montana public health laboratory system.

  • Form an accessible database of capabilities
  • Develop a flow chart of contacts
  • Communications (newsletter, blast emails, social media)
  • Convene focus groups around the state; utilize real-life experiences

L-SIP Participant Update: Indiana

by Chris Grimes, Director of Quality Assurance and Training, Public Health Protection and Laboratory Services, Indiana State

The Indiana State Department of Health conducted an L-SIP in October of 2009. That event was the first time that many of the participants had even thought about having a statewide laboratory system. Initially, we thought we could use some work groups from that meeting. However, we had major personnel shifts over the next two years and had lost the momentum. When our new Laboratory Program Advisor, Jyl Madlem, started, she was handed the project and asked to improve our laboratory system. The first thing she did was to design a logo (see image) and actually name the system.

She used the 2009 data and decided to focus on ES4-Partnerships, since it was an extremely low score (less than 20%). She quickly realized that our environmental laboratory partners were mostly left out of our current efforts, which were primarily focused on clinical laboratory partners. She promptly used this impetus to apply for and get the APHL Innovations grant for 2012. The grant paid for her to visit various environmental laboratories throughout the state, as well as the initial meeting of our Indiana Laboratory System.

Jyl convinced the ISDH to approve an official logo for the laboratory system, which has greatly enhanced the awareness of the system among various partners. We have now had four annual meetings of the ILS Environmental Members. The ISDH Laboratory Outreach Team now maintains a booth at statewide environmental conferences, too. Our environmental laboratory partners now understand that they are part of our statewide laboratory system, that they have a voice in developing policy and programs, and that they have partners who can help them. All of this was a direct result of our initial L-SIP assessment in 2009.

Current L-SIP Map

The map below represents the 31 states and four local public health laboratory systems that have convened an LSIP assessment. An additional three public health laboratory systems have completed an L-SIP reassessment.

If your laboratory has not completed an assessment and you are interested in learning more about how to connect with your laboratory system partners via an L-SIP assessment, join your colleagues for the next L-SIP introductory call (see “L-SIP Recruitment”).

Public health laboratories that conducted an assessment prior to 2011 are strongly encouraged to join New Hampshire, Iowa and Montana and conduct a reassessment to evaluate the impact of changes since the first assessment and to determine where gaps remain. For more information, see L-SIP Recruitment below.


L-SIP Recruitment

Laboratories are invited to attend an informational call about APHL's Laboratory System Improvement Program’s (L-SIP). On this call, attendees will learn about the benefits of conducting an L-SIP assessment or reassessment, what to expect from the assessment day, and what support APHL can provide. Public health laboratories that conducted an assessment in 2007–2010 are strongly encouraged to conduct a reassessment to assess the impact of previous changes and to document where gaps might still exist in the laboratory system. To register, please contact Tina Su.

Quality Improvement Forum Call: Improving Patient Care through Training of Non-laboratory Professionals

The Quality Improvement Forum calls are held regularly. All laboratory staff are encouraged to register for these calls. To ensure that there are enough available phone lines, please limit registration to one per site. Please contact Tina Su for more information.

Quality Improvement Forum Update

Recordings of the past QIF calls can be found in audio files that are available on the APHL Quality Improvement website. Click on the title to expand your selection and display the links to the presentation and audio file.

If you would like to share a presentation on a quality improvement activity at your laboratory or would like to join the group or be a participant on the calls, contact Tina Su to be added to the distribution list. Announcements are also listed in the APHL eUpdate. The forum meets every other month.

Lean Assessment Opportunity

Periodically APHL, in collaboration with Abbott Laboratories, offers member laboratories an opportunity for Lean workflow studies with improvement recommendations provided at no charge. If interested, contact karen.breckenridge@aphl.org.

APHL Looking for IQCP Stories

The LSS Committee has been accepted to present a break-out session on Individualized Quality Control Plan (IQCP) at the 2016 APHL Annual Meeting in June in Albuquerque, NM. We are looking for some staff from PHLs who might be interested in sharing some stories, lessons learned and especially how a CLIA or CAP inspection went if you have one between now and June (what advice/feedback did the surveyor give you on your IQCP). Please contact karen.breckenridge@aphl.org if you might be interested in sharing information from your facility or want to volunteer someone from your laboratory!

Quality Assurance Listserv

Laboratory staff from all United States member laboratories is invited to sign up to participate on the Quality Assurance Listserv. This member benefit is a forum for your quality related questions to your peers and the sharing of possible solutions and lessons learned. Recent topics include glass slides used for serotyping, Geenius HIV 1/2 Supplemental Assay and media expiration dates. An archive of previous listserv postings can be found here. To join the listserv to view and/or respond to the queries, please contact Tina Su.