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Movers & Shakers: Anne-Marie Martel

by Dennis Ernst • July 27, 2016


Movers and Shakers recognizes individuals in the industry who are making a ruckus. Passionate visionaries, activists, and change-agents who are working to improve patient care by increasing the quality of blood samples collected and the caliber of those who draw them through innovation, education, legislation, and leadership. They do so tirelessly, often without any compensation besides the satisfaction of making healthcare better at delivering good health. 

Anne-Marie Martel_500wWe've known Anne-Marie Martel as an industry mover and shaker for quite some time. Ms. Martel oversees scientific affairs at the Ordre professionnel des technologistes médicaux du Québec (OPTMQ is Quebec's regulatory college for Medical Laboratory Technologists) where she is heavily involved in Canadian standards development for clinical laboratories and personnel. A passionate advocate for reducing preanalytic errors, she spearheaded development of Canada's standard for specimen collection by chairing the Canadian Standards Association's (CSA) technical sub-committee that developed CSA's preanalytical standard, Z316.7.

Ms. Martel's interest in laboratory standards doesn't stop at the Canadian border. She's currently serving as Vice Chairholder for the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute's venipuncture standard (GP41), and a member of CLSI's Expert Panel on Quality Management Systems and General Practices. Internationally, she is a member of the International Standards Organization's (ISO) Working Group 1 on Clinical laboratory testing and in vitro diagnostic test systems (ISO TC212).

We can attest to her expertise and passion through our interactions on CLSI's venipuncture standard, chaired by our Director.
     "Anne-Marie has been instrumental in shaping this important standard," says Dennis J. Ernst, Chairholder of the committee revising the document. "The depth of her expertise and her skill in cultivating consensus from a diverse group of professionals has made her indispensable to my committee."

As a testimony to her contributions to the industry, she earned the CSA's Award of Merit in 2015 in recognition of exceptional knowledge, dedicated advocacy and valued collaboration in the development of standards relating to medical laboratory practices. Is there any wonder why we consider her an industry mover and shaker?

We recently asked Ms. Martel what motivates her to be such a passionate advocate for standards and the laboratory professions.
     "The preanalytical phase is of major interest to me since patients are not aware of everything that can go wrong through the many steps involved in sample collection and handling that can ultimately affect the care they receive," says Martel. "That is why we need to keep their best interests in mind and be their voice when creating these standards and guidelines. I also strive to make laboratory professionals aware of the standards so that they can achieve a high level of quality in their work."

 She cites the breakneck speed of technological developments as another reason laboratory personnel must keep current.
     "Technology is getting smaller and closer to the patient. Genomics is playing a major role in almost all new technologies being produced. Standards will be outdated at a faster rate than before because of the rate of these advancements. Laboratory professionals will need to have basic knowledge of genomics to be able to work in these future labs."

Ms. Martel is particularly jazzed about her latest project at OPTMQ, a series of on-line modules for the French-speaking province that will cover all activities of the preanalytical phase as well as injection of substances.
     "The exciting thing about this project is that we were able to stir up the interest of all of the other professionals involved in sample collection. This means that with their help, every healthcare professional in our province who collects samples will have access to the same, high quality continuing education. We are hoping to standardize these activities, promote interprofessional collaboration and allow patients to have access to optimal quality of care, no matter which professional is collecting and handling their sample."

A mover and shaker, indeed.

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