By Caitlin Hines on June 28, 2018
For those within the cannabis industry and specifically cannabis testing labs, quality assurance is critical to having a successful and thriving business within the rapidly evolving industry.
We have been fortunate to work with one leader within the cannabis industry who has a vision for what Quality Assurance can mean for those within cannabis testing, Dr. Kim Ross. Dr. Ross earned her Ph.D. at the University of Colorado in Molecular Biology and also has direct experience within the cannabis industry. Beyond that, she has personally evaluated, purchased, and utilized Qualtrax within a cannabis testing lab.
Dr. Ross shared valuable perspective about the current cannabis industry landscape. She said, “It is not that often that you get a new testing industry born these days and people are scrambling to borrow processes from other industries and apply these to the cannabis industry.” Understandably, the quality assurance and accreditation expectations can feel confusing and cumbersome, as there is not uniform consensus amongst the states. Dr. Ross elaborated:
The cannabis industry is operating in the absence of federal oversight. If you think about it, the water, food, and pharmaceutical industries have federal oversight. In lieu of that, it is up to states to adopt regulatory practices and enforcement strategies to uphold a level of compliance and data defensibility that these types of regulators have seen in their careers working in the FDA, EPS, NELAC or ISO.
Those within cannabis testing labs are looking towards established industries like water and food testing labs to serve as a quality assurance beacon. For us, a Compliance Software Company that has served water, environmental, food, and forensics labs, we feel very comfortable proving a solution that helps those in the cannabis industry with their compliance needs.
We already have Cannabis Testing Lab customers, who are shining success stories of how our software supports this industry segment.
Speaking from experience Dr. Ross shared, “Qualtrax is an invaluable tool for laboratory compliance peace-of-mind. It alleviates some of the stress of regulatory audits on key personnel by proactively organizing daily quality system activities and documentation at one’s fingertips, giving confidence that the required materials needed during a site visit are only a few clicks away.”
We understand that for Cannabis Testing Labs, the stakes are high. First, there is the need to keep up with the rapidly evolving industry climate as more and more states and governing bodies are setting standards and expectations for quality and compliance. It is in nobody’s best interest to fall behind or be a late adopter to the increasingly regulated compliance environment.
Additionally, untrustworthy data sets can have detrimental impacts on people and patients. Medical applications of cannabis require specific results in order to ensure the safety of patients, many of which are immunocompromised. Beyond damage to people and patients, businesses themselves can be hurt if a cannabis testing lab were to present inaccurate or flawed data sets. Ross shared hypothetical examples of potential negative impacts:
If, for example, you fail a product for microbiology based on false-positive results then it incurs damages to the client because now their product can’t go to market. Additionally, falsely inflated THC results are also a huge problem in the industry and can result in downstream problems with edible dosing or consumer satisfaction.
A quality assurance system with a comprehensive software solution can minimize risk and maximize adherences to proper procedure, resulting in reliable data. Recalls, product issues, and lawsuits cost organizations tremendous amounts of time and money, both to manage the problem at hand and prevent future incidents. Not to mention, the immeasurable damage done to the brand & industry by being viewed as untrustworthy–especially as a consumable product. Dr. Ross said, “Ensuring data defensibility and data integrity protects the laboratory from lawsuits. That is a really important piece of a quality assurance system for a laboratory.”
Not all quality assurance systems are created equal. There are still some companies seeking to implement systems that lack the modernization necessary to truly propel them forward towards continuous improvement and scalability. Binders, rows of filing cabinets, and a patchwork of unintegrated spreadsheets are not a scalable backbone for a quality system. Dr. Ross said, “Accountability is built into [Qualtrax] by credentialed logins such that personnel are directly responsible for data entry and documentation activities, as well as given credit for training and competency, all of which are tracked in the system.”
Beyond the accessibility and traceability that a digital system like Qualtrax creates, it also protects. Dr. Ross said, “We can protect that data with credentialed logins for key personnel and have information at our fingertips to reduce the regulatory stress on all personnel.” The stress on an audit day when there is a digitized system is vastly lower than a system that is printed and physically maintained.
For those in the cannabis industry, specifically cannabis testing labs, there is an unequivocal advantage to implementing Qualtrax. “The implementation specialists at Qualtrax have so much combined lab experience and proficiency with the tool, it’s a natural fit to partner with them to set up a robust document control system,” said Dr. Ross.
Our team hopes to help those within Cannabis Testing Labs navigate the compliance landscape with our software solution that supports continuous improvement, reliable data sets, and the very best in business practices.
If you’re ready to see how Qualtrax can transform your compliance realities we encourage you to sign up for a 30-minute demo!
Categories: Cannabis Labs, Compliance Management, News