Have you paused to think about that quality assurance is a moving target rather than a destination? It is culture in a company that needs constant improvement and alter, instead of the work of a select few to reach one defined end goal. Quality, therefore, is not a box that must just be checked but an overarching and driving force propelling organizations forward.
For anyone within the cannabis industry and specifically cannabis testing labs, quality assurance is critical to having a successful and thriving business in the rapidly evolving industry. Dr. Kim Ross, who earned her Ph.D. in the University of Colorado in Molecular Biology, and has dealt with multiple cannabis labs, says, “It is not really that often that you will get a new testing industry born nowadays and folks are scrambling to borrow processes using their company industries and apply these to the cannabiscultivationconsulting.com.” Those within cannabis testing labs are searching towards established industries like water and food testing labs to function as a quality assurance beacon. Ross elaborates:
The cannabis market is operating in the lack of federal oversight. If you feel regarding it, water, food, and pharmaceutical industries have federal oversight. In lieu of that, it is perfectly up to states to adopt regulatory practices and enforcement strategies to uphold a level of compliance and data defensibility that these kinds of regulators have seen inside their careers working in the FDA, EPS, NELAC or ISO.
For cannabis testing labs, the stakes are high. First, you have the need to take care of the rapidly evolving industry climate as more and more states and governing bodies are setting requirements and expectations for quality and compliance. It really is in nobody’s interest to get behind or perhaps be a late adopter to the increasingly regulatory compliance environment.
Additionally, untrustworthy data sets may have detrimental impacts on people and patients. Medical uses of cannabis require specific results to guarantee the security of patients, many of which are immunocompromised. Beyond harm to people and patients, businesses themselves could be hurt in case a cannabis testing lab would present inaccurate or flawed data sets. Ross shared hypothetical samples of potential negative impacts:
If, for example, you fail an item for microbiology based on false-positive results then it incurs damages for the client because now their product can’t head to market. Additionally, falsely inflated THC results are another huge problem in the industry, and can lead to downstream issues with edible dosing or consumer satisfaction.
A quality assurance system can minimize risk and maximize adherences to proper procedure, causing reliable data. Recalls, product issues and lawsuits cost organizations tremendous quantities of money and time, both to handle the problem at hand and prevent future incidents. Not forgetting, the immeasurable damage completed to the manufacturer & industry by being viewed as untrustworthy-especially as a consumable product. “Ensuring data defensibility and data integrity protects the laboratory from lawsuits,” says Ross. “That is a very important part of an excellent assurance system for any laboratory.”
One common misconception is viewing quality assurance being a cost center instead of a profitability maximizer. A robust quality assurance product is a competitive advantage-especially if you are not yet mandated to become compliant to particular standard, like ISO/IEC 17025, but decide to pursue that accreditation knowing it reflects reliability. In lots of ways, quality assurance may be summarized as “say whatever you do, and do whatever you say”, using a willingness to permit third-party confirmation of the commitment and exercise. “Accreditation gives an impartial stamp of approval that can help ensure data defensibility within the laboratory,” affirms Ross.
Accreditation as a result of quality assurance ultimately leads to reliable and trustworthy data sets. Ross shared: It may appear to be simple to buy expensive instrumentation, accept samples, and provide data. There are numerous ways to do that, many of which are incorrect, and therefore accreditation is absolutely an opportunity to have professionals evaluate methodology and post-analytical data processing to make sure that it is actually scientifically sound. It is an chance for a laboratory to become certain that their processes and reporting procedures are robust and error free.
Remember: it is a new industry. There aren’t firmly established methods and operations like other legacy industries. “We are operating in a time and space where there is not any standard methodology and this makes oversight by a third party a lot more important,” shares Ross. When a company opts to pursue accreditation they may be indicating a willingness to be honest and transparent making use of their business processes, procedures, outcomes and data. Accreditation, therefore, is necessary for this particular emerging industry. Possessing a robust, inclusive quality assurance system in place will ease and quicken their quest for accreditation.The stress upon an audit day when there is a digitized product is vastly less than a process that is printed and physically maintained.
Not every quality assurance systems are the same. You may still find some companies seeking to implement systems that lack the modernization necessary to truly propel them forward towards continuous improvement pxordk scalability. Quality assurance software with widespread use and adaptation across organizations is both scalable as well as in support of continuous improvements. Binders, rows of filing cabinets and sophisticated excel spreadsheets are certainly not a scalable backbone for a quality system.
Past the accessibility and traceability which a digital system creates, in addition, it protects. “We can safeguard that data with credentialed logins for key personnel and also have information at our fingertips to reduce the regulatory stress on all personnel,” says Ross. The strain upon an audit day when there is a digitized method is vastly below a system that is certainly printed and physically maintained.
For all those in the cannabis industry, specifically cannabis testing labs, it comes with an unequivocal benefit to implementing a system that supports continuous improvement, reliable data sets and the very best in business practices. Doing so can help sustain and grow the industry, and can be pivotal in transforming the development, market and research of cannabis.