Hema-Quebec Success Story
Multidisciplinary Approach Helped Cord Blood Bank Achieve FACT-NetCord Accreditation
The Héma-Québec Public Cord Blood Bank (CBB) was created in 2004 to meet the needs of Quebecers and to contribute to the international effort towards a high-quality global inventory of cord blood units. Since 2008, the bank has witnessed substantial growth in its activities. Benefiting from a solid partnership with seven hospital centres, the CBB had more than 6,300 units of qualified cord blood in March 2012. The CBB is integrated into an organizational structure that includes, among others, an ASHI-accredited HLA laboratory, a support team for the recruitment of mothers, and a stem cell laboratory responsible for the qualification, processing and cryopreservation of cord blood units.
FACT-NetCord accreditation is the result of major efforts previously invested by the HLA laboratory to obtain ISO 15189 accreditation in 2009 and ASHI accreditation in 2010. In 2008, senior management at Héma-Québec decided to begin the process of obtaining FACT-NetCord accreditation. A team that included staff from the Stem Cell Donor Registry and the Stem Cell Laboratory, supported by Héma-Québec’s Quality and Standards team, was mandated to pilot this project. This working group began its assignment with a thorough review of all steps of the cord blood banking process―from the registration of future donor mothers to product distribution―to ensure that each step met the standards. The team then implemented all the necessary changes and adjustments.
Adding to the challenges facing the team, the FACT-NetCord accreditation process occurred at the same time the bank was experiencing a major increase in enrollments and in volume of processed products. The installation of a computer system to manage all of the CBB’s activities also added to this hectic period. Facing so many challenges at one time had a silver lining, though. To configure the chosen computer system, Héma-Québec brought together a multidisciplinary team of not only information technology staff but also quality assurance and accreditation specialists, who kept a constant eye on compliance with the Cord Blood Standards.
It is worth mentioning that throughout the process, great support was provided by our accreditation coordinator and that communication with FACT personnel and the inspection team was constructive. With FACT-NetCord accreditation, the CBB is now poised to benefit from international recognition and from the practices of other cord blood banks, among other things, as personnel expect to join the ranks of FACT as inspectors.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy.