Roslyn McQueen

Roslyn McQueen, PhD, CCRC, ASCLS President

The theme for the 2018-19 ASCLS program year is “Exemplifying Sustainable Excellence in Laboratory Medicine” with ASCEND as the acronym that represents six key target areas. Each ASCLS Today column will be devoted to discussing each of the six target areas. The focus of this month’s column is S = Sustaining the Strategic Map.

S= Sustaining the Strategic Map
The Strategic Map concept was presented to the ASCLS Board of Directors at the 2016 Interim Board Meeting, during the administration of President Suzanne Campbell. For years the organization utilized strategic planning to provide direction and definition to our organization, locally, regionally, and nationally. The Strategic Map is different from the traditional strategic plan.

What is strategy mapping? “Simply put, a strategy map is a visual tool designed to clearly communicate a strategic plan.” (Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton). It creates a visual representation of the key objectives developed for the organization. The Strategic Map includes the vision statement referred to as a unique critical objective at the top of the map and creates a visual representation of the key objectives. These key objectives are called “pillars,” which support or define the direction identified by the board.

The unique critical objective of ASCLS is to: “Actively engage and prepare medical laboratory professionals to meet the demands of the evolving healthcare environment.” The Strategic Map outlines what the organization wants to accomplish and how it plans to deliver its accomplishments through committee charges. The six pillars include:

  • Marketing
  • Membership
  • Organizational Efficiency and Internal Communication
  • Advocacy and Professional Promotion
  • Collaboration
  • Education

Committee Charges
Each year at the ASCLS Annual Meeting, each ASCLS committee receives the committee charges for the year and conducts its first face-to-face meeting. This is a critical meeting to launch the committee off to a meaningful and constructive start. Later, throughout the year, committees meet virtually for implementation of the committee’s charges.

Communication is a key element for the success of any committee, and since we cannot have monthly face-to-face meetings, ASCLS provides Zoom® accounts to all committees and regions. Zoom is a communication tool that allows for online meetings, video conferencing, and the ability to work on documents that can be viewed and shared by the participants.

Pillars of the Strategic Map
The committee charges are a means of implementing the charges developed for each pillar in the ASCLS Strategic Map. 

Marketing. It is imperative that we market and present ASCLS as a major player in the healthcare arena. Branding creates a unique, consistent image to represent our organization. As an example, our brand is represented by our logo, as well as the naming standardization by constituent societies who embrace the ASCLS-State identity.

The Marketing charges indicate that we must market our brand focusing on the value of the organization and the profession. We must demonstrate the value of ASCLS to all key stakeholders; effectively leverage professional networks; and integrate marketing and communication across all platforms. Finally, we must equip and empower all members with tools to promote ASCLS and the profession.

Membership. Membership continues to be the primary focus of the organization. It is critical that we increase our membership numbers, retain members, and increase our transition from developing professional to ascending professional. Our goal is to have 20,000 members by 2030, which will be the centennial anniversary of the organization.

With the 2018 ASCLS House of Delegates-approved Bylaws amendments, membership categories were revised. The changes combine Professional I and II into one Professional category. Students are now referred to as Developing Professionals and New Professional New Members switched to Ascending Professionals. The Collaborative category converted to Community membership, while the Emeritus category remains the same (thanks to lobbying by Past President Barbara Brown).

With an eye on membership recruitment, retention, and reclaiming, promotion of a diverse membership will be addressed as well as retention of members as they transition through their careers and into retirement. The Emeritus members will be a rapidly growing segment as the membership ages.

Organizational Efficiency and Internal Communication. This pillar seeks to identify and disseminate leadership best practices and implement strategies for revitalization of constituent societies. This year we will devote our resources to revitalizing and assisting the weak and inactive constituent societies. We will promote a strong culture of mentorship and integrate that culture into continuing education programs.

Leadership Development will work to ensure the “ongoing oversight of a readily accessible, and well-advertised, library of online resources vetted by the Society, created to assist ASCLS constituent society leaders taking on new roles within the organization and to assist all members in developing their leadership knowledge.” (Doig 2018 Leadership Development Report)

This pillar’s goals include: ensure a strong culture of mentorship and integrate into CE programs; foster systems that support a culture of accountability; develop and maintain data-driven management platforms to evaluate and manage ASCLS activities; and increase engagement among national, regional, and states.

Advocacy and Professional Promotion. This pillar will offer opportunities for ASCLS to work with partner organizations to maximize efforts on federal legislative and regulatory advocacy. The focus on advocacy will define the role of the laboratorian in the evolving healthcare environment. We will work with partner organizations to maximize efforts on federal legislative and regulatory advocacy.

Ultimately, we must define the role of laboratorians to meet demands within the evolving healthcare environment and expand and strengthen the role of laboratorians as advocates of patientcentered services. The role of the laboratory professional must be promoted to the public and healthcare community. The support of state licensure from the national level is an ongoing commitment.

Collaboration. Through our continuous efforts to strengthen the ties between ASCLS and other allied healthcare organizations, ASCLS will work to achieve unified communication with partner laboratory organizations on key issues.

We will take full advantage of our affiliation with the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS) and the Board of Certification (BOC). Working interprofessionally, we will improve diagnosis, treatment, disease prevention, and patient safety. Our efforts with Choosing Wisely and Patient Safety are indications of such efforts. Recently, the Patient Safety Committee championed the effort for ASCLS to become a member organization of the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis. Additionally, the board approved three recommendations from the Choosing Wisely Task Force to be submitted to the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).

Education. We excel in the educational arena. The focus of the Education pillar is to facilitate a culture of lifelong learning along a continuum of education that supports career advancement. The strategies include expanding continuing education (CE) that addresses the full range of contemporary/emerging laboratory issues, utilizing methods appropriate for the needs of learners.

We will develop, support, and maintain educational activities on leadership and mentorship and promote professional development beyond CE. This will allow us to continue to create and support programs promoting leadership, management, and education. Ultimately, leadership development and succession planning in ASCLS will be developed, supported, and maintained.

Using the Strategic Map, ASCLS will provide a vision of the future state of the organization; the direction in which the organization should move and the energy to begin that move. My wish is that the 2018-19 ASCLS fiscal year will be the best, most productive for the perpetuation of our great organization by energized, qualified, committed leadership.