Laboratory Systems and Standards

Kansas L-SIP Assessment Experience

By Bertina Su, MPH, Specialist, Laboratory Systems & Standards, APHL

On May 17, Kansas became the 26th state to complete a Laboratory System Improvement Program (L-SIP) assessment and the second to use the updated L-SIP assessment tool. Approximately 60 representatives from different parts of the state public health laboratory system met for a one-day meeting to identify system strengths and find opportunities to partner with one another to address gaps.  

Laboratory Improvement Manager Dennis Dobson found that all the preparation for the event paid off, “The real joy comes on the morning of the meeting, because now things have all come together for the assessment. Seeing all the people arriving and the interactions that take place confirms that you are having success from the very beginning.”   

During the assessment, participants divided into three breakout groups, each addressing a different section of the assessment tool. They shared personal experiences and expertise, and evaluated system performance for each Essential Service. While it was valuable to capture the system ratings as a baseline measure, Dobson stressed the importance of, “the realization that we are part of network, parts of which we were unaware of, and that we have more strengths than we recognized before the day began. Networking is far more important than the score that is voted upon at the end of each Essential Service.”

Action items resulting from the discussion included development of a mission statement for the Kansas public health laboratory system and workforce issues. Based on the closing session and written evaluations, the assessment was received positively. This positive assessment extended to non-laboratory partners. A member of the highway patrol commented, “I wish that every state agency would do this.”

To learn more about how a state public health laboratory system can create a culture of improvement via L-SIP, please contact Tina Su at

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