Qualcon 2023: Key take aways 

Industry News November 9, 2023
NATA team

NATA was proud to be a Silver Sponsor at this year’s national conference of the Australian Organisation for Quality (AOQ), Quality 5.0. The event was held in Geelong 11th -13th October 2023 at Deakin University’s Waterfront campus. 

 The theme was – Quality 5.0 – People, Processes and Performance with Integrity.   

There were presentations by industry experts with topics covering risk, managing quality, ISO 9001, integrated management systems, behavioural ethics and accreditation. NATA staff attended the event and NATA CEO Jennifer Evans was among the speakers, presenting on how accreditation was pivotal in underpinning the theme of Quality 5.0. 

Delegates heard how technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), plays an ever-increasing role in our daily lives, providing applications and solutions to increase efficiency and support better outcomes for society. It was acknowledged that to ensure satisfactory outcomes for customers, it was important not to overlook the continued importance of human involvement. 

It was noted that through the commitment and collective efforts of knowledgeable individuals and supported by appropriate quality management frameworks, the quality of products and services are elevated.  

People’s creativeness, judgement, competence, and ethical considerations – particularly in the context of AI driven quality processes, were also identified. In the context of accreditation, new technologies are viewed as no different to any other technologies. Accreditation is the evidence by which the effectiveness of quality-based frameworks are assessed, continuing to provide trust to stakeholders.  

Verification, validation and technical competence are seen as key elements in providing assurance that results can be trusted. People using these technologies will need to have an appropriate understanding, be trained and remain informed. People overseeing the use of technology will need to be able to explain how a result was reached. 

NATA’s peer assessment programs are acknowledged as playing a crucial role in incorporating the human element to ensure consistency in providing the highest quality standards.  Overall, the peer assessment programs bring together skilled professionals who provide ethical judgement, technical excellence, and adaptability. It ensures that the people, processes, and performance are in alignment with values and integrity which is a crucial aspect of accreditation.  

NATA is already seeing the use of AI in human pathology laboratories. Standards Australia is envisaging that over 4000 new standards will be necessary in the next decade to support the rapid pace of digitalisation and scientific advancement.   

It should be noted that while AI offers powerful tools for optimisation, data analysis and predictive maintenance, the core of quality will continue to depend on an organisation’s people. In an era where trust in quality is paramount, accreditation is still seen as the foundation upon which confidence is built.