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What is an Educational Survey?

An educational survey is designed to provide the guidance and tools labs need to ensure accurate test results and meet regulatory requirements.

Why have an Educational Survey?

  • To identify any deficiencies or gaps in compliance that are present, and to provide you with the tools to support your inspection performance.
  • To provide the laboratory with a mock survey experience That identifies proficiencies and deficiencies in operations. An educational survey is a helpful tool for staff who have never gone through the survey process.
  • To provide education to address the deficiencies noted in the mock inspection.
  • To provide the customer with educational materials, samples documents and templates to facilitate compliance and recordkeeping.
  • To reinforce acceptable practices already in place.
  • Ensure the customer can access COLAcentral and knows where to find:
    1. Letters and communications from COLA,
    2. The Accreditation Manual, as well as
    3. Educational resources

Getting Ready: Planning for the Survey Day

Surveyors normally visit each laboratory once every 20-24 months to determine if it meets the standards for accreditation. The educational survey will be scheduled several months before your official survey to allow the laboratory to implement recommendations. When the educational surveyor arrives they will utilize current inspection criteria, identify strengths and weaknesses and provide you with a roadmap for the success.


Labs that have taken part in the mock inspections have experienced on average 80% fewer citations during their initial formal accreditation survey.

Words from the CEO

“These pre-surveys go to the heart of CRI’s mission, which is to use a program of educational and consultative services to help healthcare professionals create continuous quality standards that increase the accuracy of clinical test results,” says James Liggins, CEO of CRI. “They are designed to emphasize continuous good laboratory practices that enable labs to meet or exceed current regulatory requirements.”

“Virtually every laboratory that has undergone an educational survey has indicated afterwards that they appreciated their educational surveyor’s input on areas where they are not currently in compliance and the educational information provided on how to correct these deficiencies,” … “As a result, we are seeing meaningful reductions in the number of citations when the labs are formally surveyed. And fewer citations translate directly into improved patient care.”

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