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.

Spring-Summer 2017, L-SIP Update

Congratulations to the New L-SIP Participants

Congratulations to Mississippi, Idaho, Florida and Illinois for completing an L-SIP assessment, and New Mexico for convening an L-SIP reassessment in Spring 2017. Framed certificates of completion will be awarded to them at the 2017 APHL Annual Meeting Awards ceremony, which can be displayed to document their participation and efforts. Look for future APHL publications and teleconferences showcasing their post-assessment activities and projects!

Save the Date: Pre-Conference Workshop on Quality Manager Tools

This interactive workshop entitled "What the Quality Guru in Your Laboratory Should Know: Learn about Free Resources Available from APHL for Use by Your Quality Manager" will be held on June 11, prior to the 2017 APHL Annual Meeting. It will give an overview of APHL-developed quality manager tools and provide interactive group activities using the tools to perform every day QMS activities. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn by practical experience by using selected tools in hands-on group activities to solve some common quality management scenarios.


  • List the quality manager tools available from APHL
  • Outline how to use the QS manager position description to choose the right applicant
  • Implement one QMS tool in the laboratory

Registration Fee: $95. Advanced registration through APHL is required. Registration for the full conference is not required to register for this workshop.

L-SIP at the 2017 APHL Annual Meeting

L-SIP will be showcased at the APHL Experience booth on Sunday, June 11, 3:30–5:30 pm. There will also be an opportunity to chat with APHL staff and a representative from a state that has previously conducted an L-SIP assessment. Come to get your questions answered on how to prepare for an assessment, conduct the assessment and/or embark on post-assessment quality improvement activities.
There will also be an L-SIP roundtable on Tuesday, June 13, 8:00–8:45 am, where several recent L-SIP participants will share their assessment or reassessment experience. The session will allow for discussion on the advantages of conducting an L-SIP assessment and include information about post-assessment quality improvement activities that were started as a result of completing an L-SIP assessment. 

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. If your laboratory has not conducted an assessment, and you are interested in learning more about L-SIP and how to connect with your laboratory system partners, join your colleagues for the Fall 2017 introductory call to L-SIP (see "L-SIP Recruitment"). Public health laboratories that conducted an assessment prior to 2011 are strongly encouraged to join New Hampshire, Iowa, Montana, South Dakota and New Mexico to conduct a reassessment and evaluate the impact of previous changes and to assess where gaps still exist in the laboratory system since the first assessment. For more information, see section below on L-SIP Recruitment.


Update from a Previous L-SIP Participant

Quality Improvement at Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness Laboratory
By Leslie A. Wolf, Angela Graham and Gwendolyn J. Nixon

In April of 2015, the Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW) Laboratory convened a meeting of key stakeholders in order to complete the L-SIP Local Assessment. Since that time, the LMPHW Laboratory has continued to focus on internal and external relationship building. In addition, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness received accreditation in August 2016 through the Public Health Accreditation Board. Related to both of these activities, the LMPHW Laboratory performed a customer service survey in April/May 2017. The results will be used to continue quality improvement activities and to meet or exceed customer expectations in the future.

The customer service survey was developed and distributed by the LMPHW laboratory to all customers (internal and external to LMPHW). Individuals had an option to complete a pen-and-paper survey and return in a self-addressed stamped envelope or to use a link online to complete the survey via SurveyMonkey. Surveys were mailed on April 11, 2017 and data collection ended on May 12, 2017. The survey had a participation rate of 44% (23 completed of 52 mailed). Seven completed the survey online and 16 completed by pen-and-paper.

Overall, respondents are satisfied with the responsiveness of the LMPHW Laboratory to questions and concerns (Figure 1).
Wolf Figure 1.png

Most respondents were those who had the LMPHW Laboratory perform blood lead screening tests for their facility (Figure 2). 
Wolf Figure 2.png

There is general consensus on satisfaction with turnaround time for results for blood lead, syphilis RPR, and gonorrhea/chlamydia testing (Figure 3).
Wolf Figure 3.png

Customer Satisfaction with Turnaround Time of Lab Supply Orders (n), (Figure 4).
Wolf Figure 4.png
Based on these survey results, LMPHW Laboratory will look into courier issues related to supply ordering and consider adding tests to meet customer needs for Trichomonas testing in males and additional tests for syphilis. Those respondents who provided email addresses will receive communications from the LMPHW laboratory, such as monthly newsletters and notifications of any changes in services.

L-SIP Recruitment

Laboratory staff are invited to attend an informational call about APHL's Laboratory System Improvement Program's (L-SIP) to be held early Fall 2017. On this call, attendees will learn about the benefits of conducting an L-SIP assessment or reassessment, identifying stakeholders to invite to the assessment what to expect from the assessment day, and what support APHL can provide.
Once your state/local public health laboratory system has committed to conducting an assessment, APHL will provide a mentor, a representative from a state/local laboratory that has previously conducted an L-SIP assessment to offer guidance. The mentor will serve as a resource and can answer questions related to preparing for an assessment. To register for the call or to receive information about the process and technical assistance, please contact Tina Su at bertina.su@aphl.org.

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 March 2017, Director of Quality Assurance at Indiana State Public Health Laboratory, Chris Grimes, presented on developing and launching customer service, employee morale, management review, employee exit and knowledge retention surveys. He also shared how to communicate survey results and laboratory actions pursuant to survey findings.

A QIF call on PHL career ladders is being planned for Thursday, June 22, 1:00–2:00 pm ET. 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

Laboratory staff from all United States member laboratories are 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 sterility testing of "sterile" reagents, blood lead quality control material and root cause analysis resources. 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.