The association of departmental quality infrastructure and positive change: A pathology department illustration

Jody E. Hooper, Hazel Richardson, Amelia W. Maters, Karen C. Carroll, Peter J. Pronovost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A vertically and horizontally well-integrated quality improvement team is essential for effective quality data collection and implementation of improvement measures. We outline the quality structure of a large academic pathology department and describe successful projects across multiple divisions made possible by this tightly integrated structure. The physician vice chair for quality organizes departmental quality efforts and provides representation at the hospital level. The department has an independent continuous quality improvement unit and each laboratory of the department has a staff quality improvement representative. Faculty and staff experts have interacted to produce improvements such as accurate container labeling, efficient triage of specimens, and reduction of unnecessary testing. Specialized task forces such as the Courier Task Force are producing concrete recommendations for process improvement. All phases of pathology patient care are represented by faculty and staff who are trained in quality improvement, and each position touches and communicates actively with levels above and below itself. The key to the department’s approach has been the daily attention to quality efforts in all of its activities and the close association of faculty and staff to accomplish the goals of greater efficiency, safety, and cost savings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAcademic Pathology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Infrastructure
  • Laboratory
  • Patient safety
  • Quality assurance
  • Quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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