ZenQMS Allows Lions Gift of Sight to Focus on Strategy, not Paper Pushing
About Translational Drug Development
Lions Gift of Sight is a partnership between Lions Clubs and the University of Minnesota Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences. Lions Gift of Sight is a full-service eye bank that obtains, medically evaluates, and distributes donor eyes for cornea transplants, research, and education. For over 60 years, they have provided more than 1,000 corneas for transplant and 1,000 eyes for research each year, ensuring that as many people as possible receive the gift of sight.
Today, there are fewer than 80 independent eye banks in the United States, as most have been consolidated into larger entities. For Quality Systems Manager Wallis Brooks and her team at Lions Gift of Sight, this trend is a concern. It means that along with every business decision, they must consider strategies to best keep their non-profit research lab and eye bank independent.
With this task in mind, Wallis was charged with finding an affordable, user-friendly electronic quality management system (eQMS), as their existing manual system was inefficient, especially when trying to adhere to the standards of the Eye Bank Association of America and the FDA.
“Our document control system was completely on paper,” said Wallis. “Typically, every document would have to go through three stages at minimum for signatures. When our medical director and executive director were traveling, shipping documents for them to sign was a huge burden, especially internationally.”
Wallis continued, “The Eye Bank Association of America requires that we review everything annually if there’s a change. For us, that’s over 300 procedures. In addition to their initial reviews, I’d have to gather our directors to sit down in a room and have them re-sign everything to stay compliant.”
But even more frustrating than pushing paper and the time it took away from more valuable business pursuits, was Wallis and her team repeatedly hitting the roadblocks of complicated software systems when looking for practical solutions.
“The first thing that I ask of any system I want to put in place is, ‘What’s the usability like?’” said Wallis. “If our users come up against something that’s not intuitive, buy-in is never going to happen. We’ve had to dump systems because they couldn’t be developed without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on hired consultants. They’re not viable for our small business.”
Choosing ZenQMS helped Wallis and her team solve these problems.
When Wallis began her career in quality, attitudes toward her profession were defensive, as others in her position can no doubt relate. “I would walk into the lab and everybody would get scared,” she said. But because it was her job to meet with inspectors and verify training records, she was forced to be the ‘Quality Police’; a role she didn’t want. By implementing ZenQMS and its paperless system, quality culture at Lions Gift of Sight has become an organization-wide project rather than a responsibility reserved exclusively for the quality team.
“In 30 years of eye banking, I’m starting to see the shift of people taking responsibility for completing their own training. Now the focus is where it needs to be, with employees maintaining their own records and managers making sure it gets done. I don’t even have to be part of the conversation anymore.”
The reason for the shift is because the staff at Lions Gift of Sight have found ZenQMS to be very user-friendly. “Our people tell me how great the ZenQMS dashboard is, and I’m not so quick to adopt new systems, so if I’m saying that I find the user interface intuitive, that says a lot!”
ZenQMS’ ease of use has lessened the worry of non-compliance by governing bodies like the FDA and EBAA, as Lions Gift of Sight’s directors now have the ability to electronically sign documents wherever they are. They’ve set up a regular cadence for document reviews, so they’re not deluged with hundreds of signatures due at the same time anymore.
Regardless of how beneficial ZenQMS has been for Lions Gift of Sight as a whole, Wallis is very clear about what’s most important to her:
“My focus must be on my team and how satisfied they are with our business tools. If they don’t buy into it, then I picked the wrong product. So for them to say, ‘Oh, ZenQMS is so much easier…we don’t have to go through 15 steps to get something done’, is gratifying.”
“Instead of spending 10 hours a week pushing paper, we can use ZenQMS as an efficient administrative support structure. It also keeps us from being subsumed into a larger group of eye banks and allows us more time to focus on what we need to do strategically.”
If you’re looking to spend less time chasing signatures and more time on strategic execution, schedule a demo with ZenQMS to learn how we can bring more efficiency to your business.