August 17 2011The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Ethel Lund Medical Center clinical laboratory recently passed an unannounced accreditation inspection from COLA. COLA (formerly known as the Commission On Laboratory Accreditation, http://www.cola.org/) conducts unannounced inspections every two years to ensure clinical laboratory operations maintain a high level of quality service. “Studies have shown that laboratory data is used by providers in 70 percent of all diagnosis and treatment decisions for patients,” said John Perry, SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center Clinical Laboratory Manager. “This type of unannounced inspection helps assure the public that the laboratory data used in their treatment is accurate and of the highest quality possible.” The SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center clinical laboratory is one of over 10,000 COLA-accredited laboratories in the United States. The SEARHC Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock and the SEARHC Haines Health Center clinical labs also are accredited by COLA. The COLA Laboratory Accreditation Program began in 1988 and is recognized by the federal government as being equal to or more stringent than the government’s own inspection program. During the accreditation process, inspectors examine the laboratory’s records and quality control procedures from the previous two years. Inspectors also examine the entire staff’s qualifications, the laboratory’s equipment, facilities, safety program and record, as well as the overall management of the laboratory.