DAMAS Internal Audits, when do these need to be undertaken?

Date posted: April 5, 2016

 

If you are already a registered DAMAS laboratory, you will know that as part of the system you need to conduct Internal Audits.

The frequency of the Internal Audits is up to you, they need to be conducted, as a minimum, annually, a little before your External Audit is due. Some laboratories choose to undertake Internal Audits quite frequently, and certainly for bigger laboratories, this can make it easier to keep on top of the system.

The purpose of the Internal Audit:

Conducting the Internal Audit gives the laboratory an accurate view and understanding of whether the DAMAS Compliance System is running effectively within the lab, and if it isn’t, why this is.

Once you have been through the Internal Audit process and recorded the findings on the internal audit format, the next thing to do is to undertake a Management Review.

The Purpose of the Management Review:

The Management Review is usually, conducted by more than one individual and follows on from the Internal Audit. The purpose is to assess the findings that arose during the Audit, and to see if any corrective action is required. If there are any issues uncovered, then a corrective action plan(s) can be formulated using this form.

 

The importance of effective purchasing

Date posted: March 29, 2016

 

All laboratories, need some kind of purchasing system in place to keep on top of their ordering. Maintaining an effective purchasing system can make a huge difference to the smooth running of your laboratory.

There are many ways of recording your purchasing, as DAMAS laboratories will know, recording what you order on one of the provided formats can make this process much simpler.

In order to keep track of what you have ordered, some form of purchase order record will be required.

A good purchase order form will allow you to easily record the following:

Opening the order:

– Which supplier you are ordering from

– What it is you are ordering

– When you have placed the order

– How you placed the order

After the order has been placed:

– Whether the order was received

– When the order was received

– Whether it was complete (or had things on back order for example)

– Whether items have been substituted for other items

– Whether any items need chasing up

When orders are received having a purchase order to make additional notes on is always very useful for traceability purposes, recording of lot and invoice numbers.

Evaluating new materials or processes?

Date posted: March 22, 2016

 

Are you thinking of introducing a new material or process such as CAD CAM or Flexible Dentures into your lab?

It is a good idea, regardless of whether you are a DAMAS laboratory or not, that you take time to effectively evaluate new materials and processes, before fulling implementing them.

New materials:

Common reasons for introducing new materials:

– Recommendations

– A favourite material has been discontinued

– A new process or technology requires specific materials

New processes:

Common reasons for introducing new processes:

– A new technique to make an existing process easier

– A modern, time saving technology

– The expansion of laboratory product lines

– The expansion of the laboratory as a whole

– Frequent requests for a certain type of appliance have made the introduction worthwhile

Apart from doing research before committing, conducting thorough evaluations is key to ensuring that the new process or material will work within your laboratory.

An important thing to remember is that you should (and already will, if you are a DAMAS lab) maintain lists of approved materials and suppliers. If at any point the new product is included in an appliance for a genuine patient case, the material must be added to the approved materials list. There is a material / process evaluation form provided with the DAMAS system for you to fill out as part of your evaluation process.

DAMAS – Complaints Procedure

Date posted: March 15, 2016

 

Recording of complaints is a necessary task, it can however sometimes be difficult for laboratories to decide how best to do this and even what they should class as a complaint. Ultimately labs should use their own judgement, helped by following the appropriate guidelines to make these decisions. The process helps laboratories to highlight trends, whether these be reoccurring issues with specific clients, problems with materials, or training needs of staff members for example.

The purpose of the Complaints Procedure:

The complaints procedure exists to ensure that laboratories record any adverse communication between themselves and clients or prescribers and that any such communications are followed up, analysed and resolved using a step by step process (as discussed in more detail below). Recording these steps as they occur, provides a means of preventing the reoccurrence of the same issues, and provides written evidence of your efforts to resolve them.

Recording your Complaints:

There are specific steps to be followed when recording a complaint in your Complaints Log:

The Customer details and nature of complaint

Whether the complaint is justified or not

What the action is (for unjustified complaints)

What the action is (for unjustified complaints)

The cause of the complaint

The corrective action taken / to be taken to resolve complaint

Any follow up action needed to verify that complaint has been resolved

A signature and date to confirm the closure of the complaint.

 

It is important to remember that all laboratories should maintain thorough records of complaints. As a DAMAS laboratory you will have been provided with a Complaints Log format as part of the system to make this process much easier. You can enter the information onto the log using your computerised version or handwrite onto a printed hardcopy, whichever you prefer.

Laboratories with computerised booking in systems:

Some laboratories may be choosing to record some aspects of their complaints, on their booking in systems (Labtrac for example). If you have a system such as Labtrac in place, you can choose to record your ‘remakes’ on that system, by checking a box at the point of booking in the job. If this is the case you can then choose to use the DAMAS provided Complaints Log for any complaints that are not classed as remakes. This would mean it would run well in conjunction with the Labtrac remakes record, but you must make sure that the same information is inputted into Labtrac as is entered into the DAMAS Complaints Log to ensure compliance.

For DAMAS labs that don’t have a system like Labtrac, or that just prefer to record all types of complaints in one place, can do this for quick, easy reference, using the provided DAMAS format.

If you would like any more information on the complaints procedures or any other aspect of the DAMAS system, please don’t hesitate to contact the DLA office by phone on 0115 925 4888 or by email on info@damas.co.uk.

 

DAMAS numbers continue to grow!

Date posted: March 10, 2016

 

The number of new labs becoming DAMAS registered continues to grow, It’s not surprising then that it is becoming the ever more popular and straightforward way for prescribers to choose which new laboratories to try out.

As ever we are travelling the length and breadth of the country to visit new and existing clients from Inverness to Cornwall, and East Yorkshire to Belfast. The number of Welsh labs alone has doubled in a little over a year!

Looking ahead we can see more and more new laboratories coming onboard, with both bookings for initial audits and DAMAS in a day Consultancy visits on the rise.

For more information about DAMAS call us on 0115 925 4888, or email us at info@damas.co.uk.

So what is the DAMAS Consultancy Service?

Date posted: March 8, 2016

 

Some laboratories may find the idea of setting up the DAMAS system themselves a daunting task, or they may simply feel that they do not have the time to do it.

The first and most efficient step to becoming a DAMAS laboratory is buy the system folders from the DLA. Once you have received your folders, you can either choose to implement the system yourself, before booking your initial external audit, or have one of our consultants implement it for you.

A typical DAMAS Consultancy:

If you choose to have a consultant come in to your lab to help set up your system, it takes typically the same length of time as an initial audit, but this can vary depending on a number of factors, for example the size of the lab, number of staff, number of manufacturing areas undertaken.

Consultants will require a tour of your laboratory, information about your current materials, suppliers, subcontractors and staff members, as well as what your current procedures are.

Our team are all well practiced at implementing these systems, so shouldn’t need to take up too much of your time, the real advantages are having peace of mind that the system is set up correctly and not having to spend a lot of your own time away from the business yourself to do it. As well as implementing the system for you, a guide as to how to use the system fully will be provided and the consultant will be available, during and after the implementation if you have any queries.

DAMAS in a day helps prospective labs get the system started and of to a flying start.

If your lab isn’t yet DAMAS registered, why not contact us for more information?

You can contact us about any aspect of DAMAS by calling us on 0115 925 4888, or emailing us at info@damas.co.uk.