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What is L-SIP?
L-SIP is a program of the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), an organization that represents the interests of public health laboratories nationally and internationally. More information is available on this two-page overview of the L-SIP.
The purpose of the Laboratory System Improvement Program (L-SIP) is to improve the quality of public health laboratory practice and performance. The first step is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the laboratory system as a basis for quality improvement efforts. Milwaukee’s most recent assessment took place on Thursday, May 10, 2018.
What is the Laboratory System?
The Local Public Health Laboratory (LPHL) System consists of all the organizations that participate in or otherwise support public health laboratory testing and includes those who initiate testing and those who ultimately use the test results. In Milwaukee this includes organizations in the city and county and extends into southeast Wisconsin. The LPHL System includes all public, private and voluntary entities that contribute to public health laboratory activities. LPHLSystem members and stakeholders operate in an interconnected and interdependent way to facilitate the exchange of information, optimize laboratory services and control and prevent disease and public health threats. See this description of the LPHL System for more details.
Why Participate in L-SIP?
L-SIP produces the following benefits for state and local public health laboratories:
- Provides a benchmark for public health laboratory system practice improvements, by setting a “gold standard” to which public health systems can aspire.
- Improves communication and collaboration by bringing partners (e.g., public health, environmental and other laboratories, first responders and key constituencies) together.
- Educates stakeholders about the public health laboratory system and the interconnected activities that lead to collaborative system solutions.
- Strengthens the diverse network of partners throughout the federal, state and local systems, leading to cohesive partnerships and better coordination of activities and resources.
What other Labs Participate?
A map of state and local laboratories that have completed L-SIP assessments depicts a total of 35 states and 5 local labs. Six agencies, including the City of Milwaukee Health Department Laboratory, have also gone on to complete subsequent assessments, or reassessments.
More information and helpful links can be found on our L-SIP Resources page.
Environmental Health System Stakeholder Meeting
In the spring of 2021, MHDL convened a planning committee of system stakeholders to refine the major topic areas and objectives for a future meeting of approximately 50 partners of the water system in southeastern Wisconsin. The committee met several times to develop an agenda, identify speakers and facilitators, and assist with developing invitations and evaluations.
On May 25, 2021, the group gathered virtually to facilitate information sharing on current system activities around water pathogen surveillance, waterborne viruses and wastewater surveillance (including COVID-19). The group worked to educate environmental health system partners on current activities and roles of system partners, with a focus on brainstorming opportunities for enhancing laboratory surveillance through improved environmental system partnerships and communication.
The main focus areas of the meeting were as follows:
- Understanding of water quality improvement, safety and management planning to reduce risk of waterborne pathogens in local water system through innovative science and technology for enhanced public health surveillance practices.
- Learning from subject matter experts on regulatory and compliance updates, and how each entity is uniquely positioned to assist in managing the water-health topics and address public health crisis in southeastern Wisconsin.
- Strengthening/building relationships between environmental health and laboratory system partners by adopting best practice models in communication
Please see this June 2021 Environmental Health System Stakeholder Meeting Report for more information on activities accomplished through these events.
Laboratory Career Exploration
On February 27, 2020, a Planning Committee of approximately 10 local public health laboratory (LPHL) system stakeholders convened for a half-day meeting, to target Essential Service 8: Assure a Competent Public Health and Personal Health Care Workforce. The goal of the meeting was to focus on content and planning for a Laboratory Career Exploration Day. Discussions led to the creation of a proposed event structure, agenda and evaluation of effectiveness.
Due to COVID response and related restrictions, follow up planning meetings and events were postponed. In October 2020 MHDL, in consultation with APHL, decided to modify the event plans and proceed with planning a virtual laboratory career event. MHDL partnered with Milwaukee Public Schools to plan and host virtual education sessions on public health lab careers for select high school science classes. In addition to preparing content, part of the planning included developing evaluations for assessing student knowledge before and after the presentation, and prior testing of technology platforms (including Google Meet and Microsoft Teams) to ensure functionality.
The collaboration culminated in 1-hour virtual educational sessions for a total of three high school classes, conducted in April 2021, with an approximate total of 56 students being impacted by the project. These sessions were accompanied by science goody bags assembled with educational brochures and materials from MDHL and LPHL partners. Each student also received their own full-color, mini Coronavirus model that MHDL designed in partnership with the Milwaukee School of Engineering Center for BioMolecular Modeling.
Although originally planned as an in-person event, the shift to virtual was a great opportunity for MHDL to increase its knowledge and confidence in what was previously an uncharted area for its student outreach events as well as connect with community and upcoming generations to share a passion for public health.
Please see this June 2021 Laboratory Career Exploration Gap Project Report for information on activities accomplished through these events.
2019 L-SIP Advisory Group and Workshop
In spring of 2019, MHDL convened a L-SIP Advisory Group of laboratory system stakeholders to guide and oversee improvement strategies and activities for Milwaukee's L-SIP. The group met on April 11, 2019 to identify improvement goals and next steps targeting Essential Services 2 and 5, including planning a larger scale L-SIP workshop.
On June 13, 2019, nearly 40 regional, state and local public health and medical organizations attended the workshop to conduct laboratory response related exercises, as well as planning related to the following objectives:
- Strengthen networks and understanding of the ways partners can work together to diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the Greater Milwaukee area.
- Improve policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.
- Establish work groups that will continue to build on goals and objectives established during the meeting.
Please see this June 2019 L-SIP Project Report for more information on activities accomplished through these events.
2018 L-SIP Assessment
MHDL conducted the most recent assessment of Milwaukee's local public health laboratory (LPHL) system on May 10, 2018. An article on Milwaukee's 2018 L-SIP assessment was recently published in the Summer 2018 issue of APHL Lab Matters. More than 50 system stakeholders representing about 25 different agencies convened to evaluate the LPHL system utlizing the L-SIP Performance Measurement Tool, which assesses system performance in the 10 Essential Public Health Services. A summary of the assessment scores is available below.
The complete Scoring Matrix provides breakdowns of the above performance measurements for all Essential Services, Indicators and Key Ideas.
The results of our 2018 L-SIP assessment are summarized in this report, which includes a scoring matrix, key themes and next steps, participant listing, and results of a participant evaluation. This information will be used as a basis for system improvement efforts.
MHDL recently presented a webinar entitled “Milwaukee L-SIP: 2018 Assessment & Next Steps.” This webinar is intended to inform stakeholders about the Laboratory System Improvement Program (L-SIP) process, the results of the 2018 assessment of Milwaukee’s Local Public Health Laboratory (LPHL) system, and future directions for quality improvement at the LPHL system level.