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Leading the Way in QA: Dakota Lions Sight & Health

Jan 03, 2019 10:00AM ● By Alyssa McGinnis

By Alex Strauss

Dakota Lions Sight & Health in Sioux Falls is taking its mission to restore sight and health to the rest of the country through the work of its Chief Quality Officer, Matthew Arnett.

“At DLSH, I am responsible for quality policies and directives with the ultimate goal of assuring the safety and quality of the tissue that we recover,” Arnett told MED. “Everything we do is to make sure that the tissue is effective, safe, and suitable for the recipient.”

Arnett has been a member of the Quality Assurance Committee of the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA), the accrediting organization which certifies eye and tissue banks like DLSH, since 2015. This June, at the group’s annual meeting, he became its chair.

“I think being selected for this position is a recognition that we have a good quality program here in South Dakota,” says Arnett. “It reflects that we have a strong QA program and that we are recognized by the association as being experts in several areas of QA.”

One of Arnett’s first orders of business as chair was to initiate the EBAA’s first Quality Assurance seminar, a concept that had been in the works for several years. The EBAA already offers a similar training for recovery technicians - those people who recover the donated tissues - but, until now, there had not been a national level continuing education opportunity for those who do what Arnett does.

“The FDA requires that every eye bank have two sides,” says Arnett. “There is a technical side and a quality assurance side. So we knew there are people in every eye bank in the country that could benefit from learning and hearing about best practices from others.”

In September, Arnett was one of three presenters and taught six of the 13 presentations at the first EBAA Quality Assurance training. More than 50 QA experts from eye banks around the US and Canada gathered in San Antonio to hear what’s working, what’s not, and to strategize ways to maintain the highest quality standards among member eye banks.

“To a certain extent, eye banks compete with each other,” says Arnett. “So it was especially exciting to see everyone there being mission-focused and dedicated to improving their own programs by sharing and working together. We had some great roundtable discussions.”

Arnett presented on topics ranging from handling complaints to information sharing, document control and OSHA considerations.

DLSH has maintained top level accreditation with the FDA, EBAA and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Arnett has been with the organization since 2013.

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