Saturday, July 3, 2010
The Quality Assurance Practitioner: A Metaphorical Model
There can be no higher calling than to be a quality assurance professional in the pharmaceutical industry.
And, I do mean a calling. It’s not just a job. It is an honorable profession where art and science are skillfully applied to improve and save lives.
That sounds a lot like a medical doctor, doesn’t it?
Actually, the medical practitioner provides an excellent model to think about what we do, and how to continually strive to improve our service.
Metaphorically speaking, as quality assurance practitioners we:
OBSERVE to detect the earliest symptom that could indicate a quality well-being problem.
APPLY QUALITY SCIENCE to describe and characterize the presenting problem.
DIAGNOSE the underlying cause and systems involved using problem-solving and decision-making skills.
COMMUNICATE to all affected to ensure that there is understanding of the nature, extent and consequences of the condition if left untreated.
CONSULT the literature, colleagues and specialists to ensure that current knowledge and objectivity are applied to the problem.
PRESCRIBE a remediation plan using current science, technology and Management 101 with an emphasis on prevention.
OVERSEE the implementation of the remediation plan to ensure the plan is executed and well managed.
FOLLOW-UP at appropriate intervals to review progress and to evaluate the effectiveness of the remediation plan.
RESEARCH to continually advance the field and apply new knowledge to the practice of the art and science.
DEVELOP skills that continuously enhance personal effectiveness in applying the art and science.
What is it that you like about your favorite physician? Is it your access to him when you really need help? Is it her pleasant and professional staff? Perhaps you feel he is a good listener. I also imagine that getting results is high on the list.
Did you ever stop going to a doctor for a particular reason?
Was it because he multi-tasked while you were trying to talk to her? Did he always seem to be in a rush for her next appointment? Unsympathetic? Did he talk down to you? Perhaps you felt unsettled whether the visit was really productive.
Likewise, pharmaceutical quality assurance professionals interact daily with people and problems. Metaphorical thinking helps to shine a light on where we may need to improve--both what we do, and how we interact with others.
Consider it our own version of competent "bedside manner."
The QA Pharm