Public Information

Backgrounder

IQMH is Canada’s largest provider of medical laboratory accreditation and proficiency testing. With over 40 years’ experience, we have a proven history of customized products delivered with personal service. Our clients are composed of national and international players in the medical diagnostic testing community.

Our services have achieved world-wide recognition: our Centre for Proficiency Testing is an accredited provider; and our Centre for Accreditation is a signatory of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). These achievements set our services apart from others by demonstrating that we meet rigorous international standards for quality and competence. Our longevity is a testimony to our commitment to elevating confidence in the healthcare system.

IQMH is a not-for-profit corporation without share capital, incorporated under the Ontario Corporations Act.

Our History

We started out in 1974 as a proficiency testing program, known as the Laboratory Proficiency Testing Program (LPTP), a department of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA).

In the early 1990s, the Ontario government-funded Laboratory Services Review (1992–1994) recommended that a full “quality improvement program” be implemented to integrate proficiency testing and accreditation. In September 2000 the Ontario government funded the integrated quality management program, with the goal of developing and implementing an accreditation model for all medical laboratories over a five-year period.

The integrated program was developed and implemented within three years, well ahead of the projected five-year period, and the Quality Management Program—Laboratory Services (QMP–LS) was born. This mandated program, which is responsible for assessing quality and competence of all licensed Ontario laboratories, is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC).

Over the years, we have expanded our services to organizations outside of Ontario and Canada, thus in 2009, the Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare, a non-profit, wholly-owned subsidiary of the OMA, was formed.

 

Our Services

IQMH offers comprehensive quality management services for medical laboratories, to elevate confidence in the healthcare system. 

                   
 

Fact Sheet

IQMH was founded on October 22, 2009. Built upon the foundations of the Quality Management Program—Laboratory Services and Laboratory, established in 2000; and the Proficiency Testing Program (LPTP), established in 1974.

  • IQMH is a not-for-profit corporation, without share capital, incorporated under the Ontario Corporations Act and a subsidiary of the Ontario Medical Association. IQMH is the deemed agent of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) in Ontario for the purpose of providing accreditation and carrying out the proficiency testing of licensed Ontario medical laboratories.

  • Three Centres of Excellence:

    • Centre for Accreditation — Internationally-recognized provider of medical laboratory accreditation based on international standards.

    • Centre for Proficiency Testing — Internationally-recognized and accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA).

    • Centre for Education — Elevating knowledge and competence through sharing expertise in quality management and technical operations; access to specialty experts; interactive training series, webcasts, workshops and publications; consensus practice recommendations and scientific papers.

  • IQMH operations meet the ISO quality management system requirements, inclusive of policies and processes supported by controlled procedures, corrective/preventive action, internal audits, a complaints process to identify opportunities for improvement, and management review.

The Three Centres of Excellence

Centre for Accreditation

Accreditation to ISO 15189 by the Centre for Accreditation is a mark of excellence recognized around the world. We assess the ability of a facility to perform medical testing or the collection of specimens with formal recognition of this competence through accreditation to our ISO 15189 Plus™ requirements. It also provides facilities with the tools they need to standardize their processes, address diminishing resources and set a quality benchmark.

IQMH is internationally recognized as a competent provider of ISO 15189 accreditations. After an extensive evaluation process, in December 2012 IQMH was accepted as a Signatory of the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). These important international groups foster the harmonization of laboratory accreditation practices to ISO standards. The MRA facilitates the acceptance of laboratory test results around the globe. As a signatory, we must demonstrate continued compliance with the international standard ISO/IEC 17011.

Accreditations granted by accreditation bodies that are signatories to the MRA are recognized world-wide. IQMH issues accreditation certificates within the MRA under its “ISO 15189 Plus™” banner. “ISO 15189 Plus™” accreditation requires the onsite assessment of laboratories once every two years.

The IQMH ISO 15189 Plus™ accreditation requirements are based on ISO 15189:2012 and are augmented with international standards for safety and point-of-care testing, national standards for blood safety, government regulation and generally accepted principles of good practice.

Centre for Proficiency Testing

IQMH has been providing internationally-recognized proficiency testing programs through its Centre for Proficiency Testing (PT) for over 40 years. It is accredited by The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) in accordance with the recognized International Standard ISO/IEC 17043: 2010 Conformity assessment — General requirements for proficiency testing.

The IQMH PT programs are designed to provide regular, objective and independent assessment of a laboratory’s ability to provide an acceptable standard of service by comparison with peers. Comparison of all results provides insight into performance that is not available to the individual participants. The information provides a tangible basis for quality improvement initiatives. It also demonstrates comparison of different methods and instruments for the same test; thus, providing an assessment of reliability.

Program participants obtain exclusive access to the following:

  • Comprehensive PT/EQA reports which include management reports, educational commentaries and more

  • Specialty experts/scientific committees

  • Consensus practice recommendations and scientific papers

  • Web portal for result submission and report access

IQMH’s Centre for Proficiency Testing offers proficiency testing for the following classes of tests:

  • Chemistry, including routine chemistry, drug monitoring, drugs of abuse, lipids, enzymes, immunology, endocrinology, fecal occult blood and glucose point-of-care testing
  • Hematology, including routine hematology, red cell disorders, coagulation, morphology, bone marrow, flow cytometry and fetal maternal serum
  • Cytogenetics
  • Cytopathology, including gynecological and non-gynecological sample types
  • Microbiology, including molecular microbiology, bacteriology, C. difficile antigen and/or toxin detection, smears for acid-fast bacilli, mycology, parasitology, viral serology and direct viral antigen tests
  • Pathology, including histotechnology and immunohistochemistry
  • Point-of-care Testing  (chemistry, glucose, drugs of abuse, coagulation and HIV antibody)
  • Transfusion medicine


Centre for Education

The Centre for Education provides training and education tools to laboratory and other diagnostic medicine professionals. Our interactive training series, webcasts, workshops and publications will help customers develop their knowledge of quality management systems. Consensus practice recommendations and scientific papers are valuable resources for staying up-to-date on the latest developments in the healthcare field.

The IQMH ISO 15189 Plus™ accreditation requirements are based on ISO 15189:2012 and are augmented with international standards for safety and point-of-care testing, national standards for blood safety, government regulation and generally accepted principles of good practice. 

Institute for Quality
Management in Healthcare

1500-393 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1E6 Canada

T:416-323-9540 

 TF:1-877-323-9540 

 F:416-323-9324 

      

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