Ask the Experts

Ask the Experts: Six Sigma Quality

by Nicole Jupe on October 18, 2016

six-sigmaQuestion: 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.

Ask the Experts: Drug Test Collection Quality

by Landon Todd on September 30, 2016

drug_test_collection.jpgQuestion: 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.

Audit Programs

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.

Ask the Experts: Drug Test Collection Site Options

July 26, 2016Collections

Question: With three types of drug test collection sites and thousands of locations, how do employers know which location best meets their needs? Our drug test collection site network consists of more than 8,000 locations across the U.S. This vast geographical coverage helps provide a convenient experience for our employer customers and their donors. That […]

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Ask the Experts: Effects of Hair Treatments on Drug Test Results

June 27, 2016Hair testing

Question: Can products and treatments affect hair drug test results?  Some employers who use hair testing as part of their workplace drug testing program wonder if hair products – like shampoos, sprays, gels, coloring, bleaching, and perming – can have an impact on their test results. We asked Dr. Barry Sample, Director of Science and […]

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Ask the Experts: Marijuana Legalization and Workplace Drug Testing

April 1, 2015Drug Testing

Question: Does marijuana “legalization” affect workplace drug testing? 23 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) have legalized marijuana for medical purposes and five of these jurisdictions – Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and D.C. – have legalized marijuana for recreational use. However, the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug – meaning […]

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Ask the Experts: Under the Influence

September 8, 2014Oral Fluid testing

Question: Marijuana legislation is impacting the state in which I run my business. I’ve heard that oral fluid is the best drug test specimen type for determining whether an employee is under the influence of drugs – particularly marijuana – while they’re at work. Is this true? This is a newly emerging and complex issue that is most […]

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Ask the Experts: Urine – The ‘Gold Standard’ of Drug Testing

August 28, 2014Urine testing

Question: Why is urine testing the most frequently used method for drug testing? Businesses that drug test their applicants and employees do so to minimize their exposure to the risks of employee drug use. While all drug test specimen types – urine, oral fluid and hair – have their advantages, urine drug testing is by […]

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Ask the Experts: Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing

July 17, 2014Ask the Experts

Question: If I suspect my employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work, what can I do? Employers who implement pre-employment drug testing programs do so to protect their businesses from the impact of drug abuse before making hiring decisions. As a result, they help to strengthen the integrity of their workplace […]

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Ask the Experts: Hair Testing vs. Hair Follicle Testing

July 3, 2014Hair testing

Question: What is the difference between hair testing and hair follicle testing? Calling a hair test a hair follicle test is a common misnomer. We looked to Jarod Rowland, a scientific expert in our Lenexa, Kansas hair testing laboratory, to better understand hair testing terminology and the hair testing collection process. The hair follicle is […]

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Ask the Experts: Oral Fluid Collections

June 26, 2014Oral Fluid testing

Question: How can we better ensure fast and adequate oral fluid sample collections? The most appropriate answer to this question starts with a discussion of the oral fluid collection process and device. A key benefit of oral fluid testing is that samples can be collected on-site – i.e. at the work-site or hiring location. On-site […]

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