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Kalispell Regional Medical Center’s laboratory joined more than 7,000 facilities worldwide recently when it received two-year accreditation from the College of American Pathologists (CAP). Dr. Pete Fisher, the laboratory’s medical director, learned of the national recognition in February.
Accreditation means the KRMC Laboratory meets quality standards that the U.S. government recognizes as equal to or more stringent than its own inspection program. Among the nation’s lab-accreditation programs, CAP’s is considered the most thorough and most highly respected process.
“It is important to us that, even though they are very meticulous, this is the third time we’ve requested their inspection,” Fisher said. “We have chosen to pick the hardest one.”
During the CAP accreditation process, designed to ensure the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients, inspectors examine the laboratory’s records and quality control of procedures for the preceding two years. During the unannounced inspections they also examine in minute detail laboratory staff qualifications, equipment, facilities, safety program and record, and its overall management.
“We’re held to a national standard. We have to provide the most accurate, timely results and stay up to date on all the latest technology,” he said. The lab passed “with flying colors” and a minimal number of deficiencies, he added. “We did very well. We got many compliments from the inspectors that we have a great lab, a great staff.”
But the bottom line is what this accreditation means to clients who make use of the laboratory’s services.
“They say we’re a safe lab that produces accurate results for our physicians and patients, so we can provide the best service possible to people in the Flathead Valley,” Dr. Fisher said.
Headquartered in Illinois, CAP is a medical society serving more than 18,000 physician members and the laboratory community throughout the world. It is the world’s largest association composed exclusively of pathologists certified by the American Board of Pathology and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance.
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