Did you know that regularly team members from the Laboratory Medicine Program travel to the Kuwait Cancer Control Centre (KCCC) and work in their laboratory, alongside our partners in Kuwait, and help out with projects such as quality improvement, policy and methodology changes and providing ideas and recommendations for change, improvements and growth.
We spoke with Scott MacDonald, Yasas Dissanayake and Dr. Ivan Blasutig who recently returned from a visit (Feb 6 – Feb 20, 2015) to tell us about their experience and what it was like working with the laboratory team at KCCC.
Why did you go?
Scott: As the Charge Technologist for Cytopathology at UHN LMP I was asked to help support the cytology lab at the Kuwait Cancer Control Center (KCCC).
Yasas: I went to the Histology lab and helped them to implement new methodologies, update their procedures and further helped them to prepare for the upcoming CAP inspection.
Ivan: I was there because the Kuwaiti reference imunology laboratory recently moved to the KCCC. This lab specializes in autoimmune and allergy testing and performs testing for the entire country. They joined the KCCC approximately six months ago and were not yet visited by anyone from UHN.
What was the experience like?
Scott: The travel part, the flights, hotel, meals were all very nice and Kuwait City has some interesting things to see such as the Grand Mosque and the old souk (market). One of the best parts is interacting with other visit team members; it is really impressive to see level of expertise that these teams from UHN represented, it made me proud to be part of it.
Yasas: I had an incredible experience. I got to experience the dynamic of another Histology Lab from a different part of the world.
What is the team at KCCC like?
Scott: The lab staff at KCCC were friendly and accepting as they are generally keen to learn and improve their lab, like lab techs everywhere they want to do a good job to help take care of their patients.
Yasas: The Lab staff was welcoming, and they were willing to learn. They appreciated our help and were willing to do what was necessary to reach the standard that the UHN holds itself to.
What sort of work did you do?
Scott: The main objectives were to complete a mock accreditation visit and performance review of the cytology lab at KCCC and to follow up on recommendations from previous visits, all of which we accomplished.
In addition we went through the process to validate some new equipment and reagents, did some experiments for method development and moved along quite a few QA initiatives that they need to implement for lab accreditation. Overall, I think it was a productive visit. Jailan, the Senior Technologist for the KCCC Cytology lab, put in some long hours while I was there.
Yasas: I worked with the Histology Lab staff and helped them to improve their methodologies and procedures and further worked with them to implement new procedures and safety measures which subsequently will help them to prepare for the CAP inspection.
Ivan: I was there as an expert consultant to review their processes, procedures, assays and testing algorithms and provide recommendations for improvement. Additionally, I was there to perform a CAP assessment of both the Immunology and Biochemistry laboratories. In terms of value, I was able to provide them with a peer review of their testing practices as well as a perspective on total quality assurance from a CAP accredited immunology laboratory.
Scott: I’ll leave the business part to someone more qualified. I will say that with the cytotechnologists and pathologists we have, the support we receive, and with the leadership of Dr. Boerner I think we have a world class cytology lab at UHN. Although the partnerships may involve more work for us (and of course we get more support in return), patients will benefit if we are either providing the cytopathology service or helping in that regard.
Yasas: I think this type of partnership is important to us because it exposes us to how patient care varies in different areas of the world and whether we are up to par. It also exposed how we can help our co-workers across the world to make sure that everyone is operating at the same level of excellence.
When do you go last time? How was this different?
Scott: I had been to Kuwait twice in 2012 and since that time the cytology lab at KCCC has improved a lot. They have undergone hospital accreditation by Accreditation Canada, so there we requirements the lab had to meet for that. Their Quality Management program has advanced a great deal from where it was. A great majority or the recommendations from the earlier visits have been addressed and of course it takes time and really is a never-ending process. We didn’t get to where we are at UHN overnight.
Scott: Yes, the partnership teams at UHN and in Kuwait do a tremendous job facilitating the visits. Visitors needn’t concern themselves with very much besides doing the job they came to do. The UHN team members in Kuwait are great hosts so I’d like to say “Thanks”!
Yasas: I want to mention about the UHN team in KCC, they were the most encouraging and supportive team and they took care of everything so we did not have to worry about anything. We only had to focus on our work.