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For an organization where science and justice are vital components, quality and accuracy cannot be forgotten.

Dr. Susan Howe, Crime Laboratory Manager at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office in Fort Worth, Texas, wears many hats and quality assurance is one of them.

In the past, Susan spent days compiling and organizing documentation. For example, when completing a management system review, she would spend a week gathering statistics and accompanying documentation and then formatting it in an appropriate way. Additionally, the purchasing process was cumbersome and required that six to eight individuals be involved. This system of bulky documentation and burdensome processes drained both time and money.

Susan and the medical examiner’s office needed a solution to better manage their documentation to improve their day-to-day operations and sustain their accreditation. Qualtrax relieved the burden of maintaining hard copies of documentation, retrieving this paperwork and reporting on it to the necessary individuals.

“Qualtrax has simplified many things in our organization, but what it has done most for us is provide ready access to information,” Howe said.

Now Susan’s weeklong process of completing her management system review takes only four hours using Qualtrax, freeing her time to focus on quality.

There was some initial resistance when moving to an electronic system, however, concerns quickly dissipated after using Qualtrax.

“Now our employees actually want things to be in Qualtrax,” Howe explained. “They become a little nervous even, if things are not in Qualtrax.”

Employees go to Howe to automate processes for them, “Can’t you just make us a workflow,” they say.

Qualtrax has become part of the culture at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. Analysts are comfortable with the software and rely on it to complete their work. Many of their processes are automated through workflows which move electronically through individuals.

“The process[es] move from person to person and even between departments in our organization very readily so there’s a huge time savings there,” Howe said.

This is the move significant savings for Susan – time. Much of the documentation that Susan managed had to be kept as a hard copy, then retrieved and reported on. Now that information if available with “the click of a mouse.”

According to Howe, Qualtrax maintains itself so there isn’t a “scramble” to prepare for an audit.

Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office recently decided to move to the Qualtrax Cloud. The move was initiated to provide access of the system to their assessors, which couldn’t be done without the cloud.

“We worked hard to build a system that we’re very proud of…and we wanted to show off that system,” Howe said.

Dr. Susan Howe and the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office is an ideal example of how technology can improve accuracy, efficiency and the lives on those working to maintain quality.

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Category: Forensic Labs

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