​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 2018, L-SIP Update

Current L-SIP Map

The colored city and states on the map represent the 35 states and five local public health laboratory systems that have convened an L-SIP assessment, as well as the five public health laboratory systems which completed an L-SIP reassessment. For more information on L-SIP and the assessment planning process, please contact Tina Su at bertina.su@aphl.org.


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. For example, APHL can provide up to $4,000 to help offset the costs of convening an assessment, as well as provide a facilitator on the assessment day.

Public health laboratories that conducted an assessment in 2007–2012 are strongly encouraged to conduct a reassessment to assess the impact of previous changes and document where gaps might still exist in the laboratory system. This call will be held on Tuesday, February 20 at 1:00 pm ET. To register for the call, please contact Tina Su at bertina.su@aphl.org.

Post-L-SIP Assessment Quality Improvement Activity from Illinois

Sophia AlQuraishi
Laboratory Improvement Section and Safety Officer
Illinois Department of Public Health/Division of Laboratories

The Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Laboratories (DOL) held its L-SIP assessment on May 11, 2017. The DOL consists of three laboratory sites: Carbondale,
Chicago and Springfield. The L-SIP assessment allowed the DOL to evaluate the interaction between the laboratory and its partners and stakeholders.

Key areas for improvement:

  1. Improve communication within the laboratory system;

  2. Implement or improve electronic laboratory systems;

  3. Increase training for laboratory partners.

In addressing communication within the laboratory system, the area that needed immediate attention was between the DOL and Communicable Diseases Program. The Communicable
Diseases (CD) Program is the main hub for Local Health Departments and serves as one of the primary partners for the DOL.

Leadership and staff attended several meetings to brainstorm and develop a formalized communication system.

This communication system consists of a shared database that allows for tracking a specimen’s status between both entities. This system has improved efficiency by reducing emails and
phone calls, and promoting more frequent updates to the listings of system partner contacts and services.

The goal for this objective is to expand to the rest of the partners in the Public Health Laboratory System.

For more information about these activities, contact Sophia AlQuraishi at Sophie.Alquraishi@Illinois.gov.

Quality Improvement Forum Update

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

In December 2017, Drs. Donna Ferguson and Martina McGarvey, laboratory directors of the Monterey County and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Laboratories, respectively, presented on a call focused on TNI Implementation and Laboratory Audits. Topics included the California Local Public Health Laboratories and Pennsylvania State Laboratory experiences, challenges and lessons learned.

In January 2018, Keri Fisher and Martha Boehme from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories (MI PHL) presented on a call titled “A Standardized Approach to Root Cause Analysis.” Topics included the MI PHL's experience with ISO 17025's corrective action and cause analysis requirements, example of root cause analysis tools, the standardized root cause analysis process used in the MDHHS laboratory, and lessons learned.

If you would like to share with others a presentation on a quality improvement activity occurring in your laboratory or would like to join the group either as a participant on the calls, contact Tina Su at bertina.su@aphl.org to be added to the distribution list. Announcements are also listed in the APHL e-update.

Quality Assurance Listserv

APHL is implementing the transition from listservs to an online community platform. The Quality Assurance listserv has made this move already and is now called the Quality Assurance Community. To join the Community and ask your peers quality-related questions and to view and/or respond to the queries, please contact Tina Su at bertina.su@aphl.org.