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DIAG206-0310: Quality Management for the Veterinary Clinical Pathology Laboratory, Part I

Kathleen P. Freeman, DVM, BS, MS, PhD, DipECVCP, MRCPath, MRCVS, Certificate in Laboratory Quality Management (University of Wisconsin)
In conjunction with the European College for Veterinary Clinical Pathology, Committee for Laboratory Standards
Ernst Leidinger, DVM, Dip.ECVCP, Specialist for Clinical Pathologist (national); Lab director and clinical pathologist at In Vitro laboratory in Vienna, Austria
Stefanie Klenner, DVM,, Resident ECVCP Central Laboratory, Veterinary Department
Professor Elspeth Milne, BVM&S, Ph.D, DipECVCP, DipRCPath, FRCVS
Anne Lanevschi Pietersma, DVM, MRCVS, MVSc, Dipl ACVP, ECVCP

March 14 - June 20, 2010
Real-time sessions: Sundays, March 14, 28, April 11, 25, May 9, 23 and June 6; 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm ET (USA)

Course Description

The course, "Quality Management for the Veterinary Clinical Pathology Laboratory," is designed to provide an introduction to and practical application of quality management in the veterinary clinical pathology laboratory. It is given in one 14-week and one 12-week part (Part I and Part II). Part I is a prerequisite for Part II.

In Part I, participants will be introduced to theories of management and concepts vital to quality planning. Examples of ISO-based and GLP standards will be included. Laboratory design, Westgard Rules, QC Validation and Sigma Metrics will be covered.

In Part II, participants will study personnel specifications, job descriptions, training records and employee appraisals, learn about audits in the veterinary clinical pathology laboratory and determination of reference intervals. Improvement Opportunities, external Quality Assurance performance and a Quality Plan for the laboratory are the final topics in Part II.

There will be real-time sessions every other week. The majority of the work will be done by e-mail of drafts and revisions to the instructors, with the final products of some sections shared with the rest of the participants by posting on the course message boards. The review and participant questions will also be shared on the course message boards. In order to demonstrate satisfactory participation in this course, participants are expected to attend all of the real-time sessions, hand in completed homework assignments and to work with the instructor(s) in revising assigned items until both the instructor(s) and participant are satisfied with the results, as well as pass the examination with a score of at least 60%.

There is some flexibility in the length of time of the course to accommodate holidays for the Instructors and participants. These should be arranged in advance between the instructor and the participants assigned to him/her.


At the end of Part I of this course, the participants should:

  1. Understand and demonstrate knowledge by examination of current concepts of laboratory quality management, including Total Quality Management, LEAN and Six Sigma.

  2. Understand and demonstrate knowledge by examination of ISO and GLP-based standards applicable to testing in veterinary clinical pathology laboratories.

  3. Understand and demonstrate knowledge by examination of concepts underlying veterinary clinical pathology laboratory design and what a veterinary clinical pathology laboratory should look like.

  4. Know how to write Standard Operating Procedures(SOP) and Policies for the veterinary clinical pathology laboratory and show how to do this by developing a list of Policies and SOPs for a depart of his/her choice, writing a SOP for am SOP, a Policy and SOP for a process of his/her choice.

  5. Know how to apply Westgard Rules to determine acceptability of QC data and show how to do this by analyzing data from an instrument within his/her laboratory.

  6. Know how to conduct Quality Control (QC) Validation and show how to do this by analyzing data from a particular instrument within his/her laboratory and making recommendations for QC based on his/her findings.

  7. Know how to use and determine sigma metrics for various laboratory tests and show how to do this by analyzing data and determining sigma metrics for an instrument within his/her laboratory and making recommendations for quality assurance based on his/her findings.

  8. Share their thoughts, experiences, comments and work with others in the course in order to contribute to better understanding of the topics and appreciation of the approaches taken by others to similar or different laboratory circumstances.

  9. Successfully pass an examination with multiple choice, short answer and/or essay questions regarding the above topics by achieving a score of > or = 60%
Dates in parentheses indicate the date of the real-time session.

Week 1 (March 14): Introduction to Concepts of Total Quality Management, LEAN management and Six Sigma Management

Week 2: Introduction to Quality Planning and Quality Standards (no Week 2 real-time session)

Week 3 (March 28): What should a veterinary clinical pathology laboratory look like? Laboratory Design

Week 4: Policies and Standard Operating Procedures (no Week 4 real-time session)

Week 5 (April 11): Westgard Rules

Week 6: Westgard Rules (no Week 6 real-time session)

Week 7 (April 25): QC Validation

Week 8: QC Validation (no Week 8 real-time session)

Week 9 (May 9): QC Validation

Week 10: Sigma Metrics (no Week 10 real-time session)

Week 11 (May 23): Additional Revision

Week 12: Additional Revision (no Week 12 real-time session)

Week 13 (June 6): Review, Discussion, Questions and Sharing

Week 14: Examination (no Week 14 real-time session)

Discussions will begin on the start date of the course and will continue for one week following the last real time session.

CE HOURS: 10.5 (for RACE)
5.0 ECVCP Training Credits

Member and Non-Member/$650
Course not open to veterinary students.
VIN CE Course Open to VSPN'ers

The instructors require that participants of this course have a specific type of training and experience, due to the advanced level of the course material.

The majority of candidates will be those in training for a career in clinical pathology or those who already working in the clinical pathology laboratory. In some instances there may be a practitioner or veterinary nurse with an intense interest in clinical pathology that may wish to take this course, but should be advised that the course is intensive and will require a considerable input of time and effort when coming from a background without prior experience in a clinical pathology laboratory typical of a University or reference laboratory.

Desired experience should include:
- prior experience in a clinical pathology laboratory environment
- prior experience in clinical pathology laboratory testing
- interest in quality systems for the clinical pathology laboratory
- interest in provision of leadership and quality management in the clinical pathology laboratory
- desire to gain experience in application of quality management and planning principles using data from your own laboratory, with guidance from experienced clinical pathologists who are experts in quality leadership and quality management.

Required Textbook: None

Recommended Textbook: None

For More Information on VIN's Upcoming CE Courses, check out

This course has been approved for 5 European College of Veterinary Clinical Pathology Training Credits.

"This course has been approved for 10.5 hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB RACE approval; however participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education. Call VIN at 1-800-700-4636 for further information."

COURSE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY: Withdrawal prior to the listed start date of a course entitles the registrant to a complete refund or a credit toward a future VIN CE course, whichever is preferred. Withdrawal within 1 week after the listed start date (i.e. including no more than one real-time session) entitles the registrant to a credit toward any future VIN CE course. (Does not apply to courses with only one real-time session.) After the first real-time session, a registrant may withdraw due to special circumstances and receive prorated credit towards a future VIN course. These requests will be handled on an individual basis. The amount of the prorated credit will be determined based on 65% of the time remaining in the course at the time of withdrawal. It is not possible to withdraw retroactively.

Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN office at 1-800-700-INFO.

Debbie Friedler
Continual Education Division
Veterinary Information Network


800.700.4636  |  |  530.756.4881  |  Fax: 530.756.6035
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