About COLA

COLA accredits almost 8,000 medical laboratories and provides the clinical laboratory with a program of education, consultation, and accreditation. The organization is an independent, non-profit accreditor whose education program and standards enable clinical laboratories and staff to meet U.S. CLIA and other regulatory requirements. For more information about COLA accreditation services and educational products, and online educational opportunities, please call 800-981-9883 or email us at

Our Mission

COLA is a physician-directed organization whose purpose is to promote excellence in laboratory medicine and patient care through a program of voluntary education, consultation, and accreditation.

Our services are designed to improve your clinical laboratory as a whole, giving you confidence that your facility provides the best patient care. By weaving education throughout all of our services, we work with you to prepare your lab to meet regulatory requirements.

COLA helps you ensure accurate test results, run your lab in accordance with quality systems, and meet CLIA requirements in order to serve your patients better.


COLA was founded in 1988 as a private alternative to help laboratories stay in compliance with the new Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). In 1993, the Health Care Financing Administration (now CMS) granted COLA deeming authority under CLIA, and in 1997 the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) also recognized COLA’s laboratory accreditation program.

After 35,000 surveys in which COLA’s practical, educational accreditation methods helped physician office laboratories stay in compliance withCLIA, COLA expanded its program offerings to include hospital and independent laboratories.

Committed to helping your laboratory achieve excellence in health care, COLA offers a range of services that takes the complexity out of accreditation. Our goal is simple – to use education to help you improve your lab and serve your patients better. By taking a partnership approach, we work with you to make the accreditation process simple, quick, and tailored to meet your specific needs.

Become a COLA laboratory and put all that we’ve learned over the years to work for you.