Overview of the Respiratory Function Laboratory Accreditation Program

About

The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) established the accreditation of respiratory function laboratories in 1997 to foster excellence in the assessment of respiratory function.

The accreditation process defines uniform minimum standards for respiratory function laboratory services in Australia and New Zealand. The process considers a laboratory’s organisation and administration, staffing, policies and procedures, staff development and education, facilities and equipment, and quality assurance programs. The laboratory accreditation program approach is influenced by programs established by the Australian Council of Healthcare Standards (ACHS).

Laboratory accreditation does not accredit the respiratory department, the clinical operations of the department, nor its Advanced Trainee program. However, information on the Department and its clinical services is required so as to provide an accurate picture of the demand placed upon the respiratory laboratory.

When awarded, accreditation is valid for 5 years.

Benefits of participating in the Program

Participation in the program provides laboratories with an independent assessment of the quality of their service together with the opportunity to secure feedback and ideas on how to further improve their services.

The TSANZ respiratory laboratory accreditation program encourages achievement of appropriate standards to ensure that a service operates to an agreed standard. Additionally, the program provides formal recognition that the service achieves these standards.

Laboratories need to meet the TSANZ laboratory accreditation standards in order to satisfy the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) requirements as a training site for Advanced Training in Respiratory Medicine.

Accreditation Fees

The 2016 accreditation fees are:

Application fee - $2,200 inc. GST
Site visit fee - $3,800 inc. GST

Both of these standard fees apply to accreditation applications for a single site laboratory.

These fees, which are set to recover costs, will be determined by TSANZ and revised from time to time.

Additional fees may be charged when:

  • The Initial Application is found to be incomplete, and effort is required to follow-up with the Laboratory to address gaps in the submission requirements
  • A laboratory seeks accreditation of branch sites
  • A second site visit is required as part of the accreditation process
  • A supplementary site visit is required due to the physical move of a laboratory
  • A laboratory requests the accreditation of additional tests, outside of the primary accreditation process. This fee will be dependent upon the number of additional tests that are to be accredited.

When payable, the Laboratory should confirm the current Fee with the TSANZ Office and raise a Purchase Order (PO) for the fee, providing the TSANZ Office with the Purchase Order details. The PO number is added to the TSANZ Invoice. This is often required to facilitate timely payment of the Invoice by the Laboratory.

Continuous Program Review

As continuous review and improvement is part of all accreditation programs and expected of all laboratories participating in this Program, so too does TSANZ continue to review and update the Program. An extensive survey seeking feedback from laboratories and volunteer assessors was completed in early 2016. The Laboratory Accreditation Committee has used feedback provided by Laboratories and Assessors over the last 3 years and recent survey results to complete a detailed review and update of the Program. The revised Program Manual, inclusive of revised Standards, and other documentation has been issued in July 2016.

Ongoing review and improvement of the Standards is required in order to ensure that they continue to reflect uniform minimum standards and foster excellence in the approach to the assessment of respiratory function in laboratories in Australia and New Zealand. The changes to the standards are not designed to have laboratories ‘fail’ the process; instead, the changes are designed to encourage laboratories to review and improve the quality of their services.

Enquiries about the Program

The TSANZ Office provides general administrative support to the program and is the first point-of-call for any enquiries. Further management and governance support is provided by the Laboratory Accreditation Committee (LAC), the Professional Standards Sub-Committee (PSS), and the Board.

All enquiries should be addressed to the TSANZ Office by email: Labaccreditation@thoracic.org.au; or phone: +61 2 9222 6200.