Lab Medical Director:
Dr. Nelson Hwynn, DO, FAAN, FAANEM
What prompted you to accredit your lab initially?
The trend in medicine is to have labs accredited to ensure others that all of our EMG labs are meeting criteria set to high standards.
What value or benefits have you seen from accreditation?
Our reports have improved as a whole. We have many EMG'ers from different training background and have found a way to standardize our reports, which is what we have been trying to do for many years. We also have updated our normal values for the nerve conduction studies to suggested criteria published by the AANEM, also which is something we have been wanting to do for many years.
How did going through the accreditation process help you shore up or improve processes and procedures?
Our reports all got better and more complete. This process ensured that we are up to criteria, fixing many little things, but also learning from each other. I feel that just because our lab is now accredited, this does not mean that we stop trying to improve, but this only provided us with framework to build upon and continually strive to get better due to what it represents to have a lab accredited by the AANEM.
What did you learn by going through the accreditation process?
AANEM really does want labs to be accredited, provided that the labs pass the set standards. I found AANEM to be highly supportive and helpful with our ventures in this, which is something I did not expect to happen (thanks Anna!).
What was the most challenging portion of the application?
Getting started seems daunting. The application has so many steps. Even after initially starting, with a busy practice, it was hard to find time to take this to the end. Also, we have multiple members working at different sites (even though we are all in the same clinic group), and it took effort to try to get everyone in on the same page.
Did anything about the accreditation process surprise you? If so, what?
As the person submitting the reports and application, I saw how everyone's notes were in ways that I did not really pay attention to before, and a lot of what I saw were things that inspired our group to try to take out the best parts of everyone's notes to try to improve the final product. My EMG notes improved as outcome of this, which I did not think about when I started this, but am happy it turned out better than before.
Why should others accredit their laboratory?
You can either be an early adopter to the inevitable or lag behind while others surpass you. I think everyone who goes through this process will find ways that their labs and EMG reports are as a whole can improve. We now understand why we do things the way they are rather than, "Oh that's how I was trained in my residency/fellowship".