Question: What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is defined by the Council for Six Sigma Certification as “a set of business tools, statistical theory, and quality control knowledge that helps improve your business procedures. A Six Sigma process is expected to be free of defects with no more than 3.4 defective defects per million opportunities (DPMO).” In many organizations, Six Sigma means a standard of quality near perfection. It champions total customer satisfaction. The Six Sigma methodology was introduced in 1986 by an engineer in Motorola and Jack Welch brought it greater fame in the 1990s when he put it at the core of GE’s business strategy and culture. Many industries used Six Sigma today.
At Quest Diagnostics, Six Sigma means that subject matter experts, armed with data and knowledge, work together in teams to identify defects and improve the quality of our processes and products. A defect, according to Six Sigma, is anything outside customer specifications. Our company has Black Belts (project managers) deployed in every Quest Diagnostics business unit trained lead Six Sigma improvement projects that touch areas such as our laboratory, Patient Service Centers, logistics, specimen processing, client services, billing, and information technology.
Furthermore, Six Sigma is integrated in The Quest Management System (QMS) which guides all of our employees to work using the same foundational values and behavioral norms. QMS prioritizes efforts according to what’s most important to our customers and what continually advances our operational efficiency.
We are committed to exceptional quality in drug testing. We embrace change, strive to solve problems and take corrective actions, listen to employee feedback and customer insights, and engage the hearts and minds of our workforce to achieve success. These same qualities mirror the fundamental practices of Six Sigma.
For more information about drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.
Question: With thousands of collectors across the U.S., how does Quest Diagnostics help ensure the quality of each drug test collection?
As one of the first steps in the drug testing process, collections help build the foundation that enables our laboratories to operate as efficiently as they do. As such, it is imperative that we hold our collectors to the highest standards of quality and professionalism by establishing rigorous chain of custody protocols, conducting frequent audits, and reducing fatal flaws.
Chain of Custody Protocols
Our collectors perform more than 300,000 drug test collections each month across the U.S. To help ensure the specimen is collected with consistent quality, we’ve established strict chain of custody procedures to be followed for every collection. No matter where we collect the specimen, the same standardized processes are used from collection to results reporting.
Having dependable, high-quality collections across a network this vast requires continuous oversight and attention. In addition to our ongoing training, we validate that collectors follow the established protocols by:
- Conducting more than 1,200 unannounced, anonymous collections – also known as Mystery Shoppers – each year at Quest-owned and operated Patient Service Centers (PSCs) and preferred collection sites utilizing trained collectors from our mobile collection network.
- Performing audits of our mobile drug test collection network by dispatching a collector, monitored by a trainer, who is positioned to provide feedback on corrective action and immediate retraining if needed.
Fatal Flaw Reduction
We use fatal flaws – errors that require a recollection – as a metric to measure the quality of our drug test collections. Through our investments mentioned above, along with increased use of the electronic Custody and Control Form (eCCF), we’ve been able to reduce our fatal flaw rate to less than 0.08 percent. Said another way, on average 99.92 percent of our PSC collections are completed without a fatal flaw – providing quality you can count on.
Watch our video to learn more about the different ways in which we ensure quality collections.
To learn more about our collection quality, visit our website or contact us online.