Understanding Quality Control: A Process Improvement Perspective


This session will provide an understanding of three fundamental concepts of quality control: stability, capability and controllability. The theory of each of these concepts will be described and will be followed with practical advice on how to apply these concepts in the real world. A top level approach to quality improvement will be presented along with practical tools to implement each phase of the quality improvement process. The goal is to provide participants with a practical approach to QC analysis and a roadmap for QC improvement.

Originally published on April 4, 2019

Lecture Presenters

Robert Schmidt, MD, PhD, MBA

Robert Schmidt, MD, PhD, MBA

Associate Professor of Pathology
University of Utah School of Medicine
Director, Center for Effective Medical Testing
Department of Pathology, University of Utah School of Medicine
Director, Quality Optimization
ARUP Laboratories
Medical Director
Huntsman Cancer Hospital Clinical Laboratory

Dr. Schmidt is an associate professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He received his MD, MMED in clinical epidemiology and graduate diploma in biostatistics from the University of Sydney, an MBA from the University of Chicago, and a PhD in operations management from the University of Virginia. He also earned a master of science in biochemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a graduate diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine from the University of New South Wales. He is board certified in clinical pathology and clinical informatics. Dr. Schmidt is director of the Center for Effective Medical Testing, which performs studies on cost-effectiveness, utilization analysis, and evidence-based evaluation of diagnostic testing. Dr. Schmidt is also medical director of the clinical laboratory at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital and Director of Quality Optimization at ARUP. Prior to joining ARUP, Dr. Schmidt was an associate professor of operations management at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. His research and clinical activities focus on statistical and economic analysis in laboratory testing. He has published over 80 peer reviewed articles, is a frequent presenter at national meetings, and is on the editorial board of several journals.

Lauren N. Pearson, DO, MPH

Lauren N. Pearson, DO, MPH

Assistant Professor of Pathology (Clinical)
University of Utah School of Medicine
Medical Director
University of Utah Health Hospital Clinical Laboratory/ARUP Laboratories

Dr. Pearson is an assistant professor (Clinical) in the Department of Pathology at the University of Utah. She serves as the assistant medical director of University Hospital Clinical Laboratories in Salt Lake City, and is Laboratory Director of South Jordan Health Center Clinical Laboratory. Dr. Pearson received her DO and MPH degrees from Touro University in California. She is board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology.

Dr. Pearson’s academic interests include pathology education, quality control, analytical interferences, instrumentation, and laboratory stewardship. Dr. Pearson is an active member of the College of American Pathologists and currently serves as vice chair of the Instrumentation Resource Committee.


After this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Define process stability, describe how to assess stability, and describe the steps to take to stabilize a process that is unstable.
  • Define process capability, describe how to assess capability, and, if a process is not capable, describe the steps required to make a process capable.
  • Define a QC plan and process controllability, describe how to assess controllability, and if if a process is not controllable, how to achieve controllability.

Sponsored by:

University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, and ARUP Laboratories