COLAThe educational subsidiary of COLA, COLA Resources Inc®, (CRI), Columbia, Md, is introducing a comprehensive education program to assist its clients and other laboratories in transitioning to new Individualized Quality Control Plan (IQCP) guidelines recently announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The products, including a comprehensive manual, software tool, video, webinars and workshops, are designed to assist labs in understanding the new quality control program, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2016. A 2-year educational and transitional period will begin in January 2014, at which time labs will have the opportunity to learn about IQCP.

“IQCP is a critically important development in quality control in the laboratory, providing a framework for customizing a plan for each laboratory’s unique test systems and environment,” says Rose Mary Casados, BSMT, ASCP, president, CRI. “Because IQCP takes a more comprehensive approach to quality control, CRI developed an education program to clearly explain the steps labs need to take to both understand and implement it.”

IQCP will allow labs to consider all possible sources of errors unique to their individual laboratory, and to develop a quality control plan customized for their testing workflow process, while maintaining compliance with applicable regulations. The new program is the first quality control approach to encompass all three phases of clinical testing—preanalytical, analytical, and post-analytical, CRI notes.

The new program includes:

  • An IQCP Implementation Manual, which defines IQCP, reviews the evolution of this concept, beginning with basic quality control, and describes the necessary steps in implementing the IQCP guidelines in the clinical laboratory.
  • An IQCP E-Optimizer Software Tool, designed to help laboratories biopsy their current QC methods and receive customized recommendations on how to align their QC programs with IQCP guidelines.
  • An IQCP video, providing an overview of the components, implementation, and benefits of IQCP. Featured in the video are Dr. John Daly, Chief Medical Officer of COLA, who addresses how the implementation of IQCP enhances the quality of patient care, and the physician/patient relationship; and Kathy Nucifora, MPH, MT(ASCP), Accreditation Division Manager of COLA, who reviews the steps laboratories need to take to develop and implement IQCP.
  • IQCP webinars including:
    o CMS/CLIA updates on IQCP
    o How to use the new guidelines to develop an IQCP plan
    o Understanding and applying the principles of risk management to QC
  • IQCP workshops, designed to help lab professionals understand what IQCP means for their laboratories by offering hands-on sessions on developing an IQCP Plan.

“IQCP represents such an important step forward in quality control, in that it enables healthcare providers at all levels of patient care, including physicians, laboratory personnel, and other professionals to meet their unique QC requirements while achieving regulatory compliance,” Casados says. “This, in turn, will pave the way to achieving continuous quality patient care.”

For more information on IQCP education tools, visit and select the IQCP tab.

[Source: CRI]