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EQA Practices in Medical Laboratories: A Global Survey

Author: Qing H. Meng, PhD, MD, DABCC, FAACC, Professor, Director of Clinical Chemistry and Special Chemistry Laboratories, Director of Postdoctoral Clinical Chemistry Fellowship Program, Department of Laboratory Medicine, the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center





Quality assurance is crucial for Laboratory Medicine and is defined as the systematic process of ensuring that laboratory testing is accurate, reliable, and consistent. As an essential element of quality assurance, external quality assessment (EQA) involves the regular testing of laboratory performance by external organizations. These programs assess the accuracy and precision of laboratory testing across different labs and provide laboratories with feedback on their performance.


To evaluate the status of global laboratory quality systems, the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) has recently conducted a survey to assess the need for implementation, expansion, or harmonization of EQA programs. This study, led by Dr. Qing H. Meng, Co-Chair, IFCC Task Force on Global Lab Quality (TF-GLQ), Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, provides insights into the EQA practices of medical laboratories worldwide. It has recently been published in Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine with the title "External quality assessment practices in medical laboratories: an IFCC global survey of member societies." 1


The survey was sent to IFCC full and affiliated members (N=110) across the globe. The survey results provide a detailed analysis of the EQA practices of medical laboratories, including the types and availability of EQA programs, EQA policies and procedures, and the frequency of participation in EQA. The authors also identified several areas for improvement in EQA practices, including expansion of the availability of EQA materials and additional training on EQA best practices, procedures, and appropriate troubleshooting. They suggested that these improvements would help to enhance the quality and accuracy of laboratory testing and ultimately improve patient care. The authors also discussed the challenges faced by medical laboratories in implementing EQA practices, including cost constraints, limited resources, and lack of expertise.


Overall, this study is an essential resource for laboratory professionals, quality assurance managers, and policymakers involved in improving laboratory testing quality and accuracy. The results of the survey and the review of the literature provide valuable insights into the current state of EQA practices in medical laboratories and identify areas where improvements can be made to enhance patient care.






临床实验室室间质量控制的实践:一项全球调查


质量控制(质控)对于临床检验至关重要, 其定义为确保实验室测试结果的准确性、可靠性和一致性的系统过程。作为质控的重要组成部分,室间质控(EQA)通过外部机构定期测试实验室性能。EQA 可以评估不同实验室的实验室测试的准确性和精确性,并向实验室提供有关其性能的反馈。


为了评估全球实验室质量体系的现状,国际临床化学和实验室医学联合会(IFCC)最近进行了一项调查,以评估EQA实施、扩展或协调的需要。这项研究由德克萨斯大学MD安德森癌症中心实验室医学系教授并兼任IFCC 全球实验室质量工作组 (TF-GLQ) 联合主席的孟庆贺博士领导,为了解全球医学实验室的室间质控的实践提供了深入洞察。 该研究近期已于《临床化学与实验室医学》杂志上发表,题为“医学实验室的外部质量评估实践:IFCC成员协会的全球调查”。


该调查发送给IFCC的直属和附属成员(共计110),覆盖全球。该调查结果提供了对医学实验室EQA实践的详细分析,包括EQA计划的类型和可及性、EQA政策和程序以及参与EQA的频率。作者还鉴定了EQA实践中有待改进的领域,包括扩大EQA样品的可及性,提供EQA的最佳实践、程序和适当的故障排除的进一步培训。他们建议这些改进将有助于提高实验室测试的质量和准确性,最终改善患者护理。作者还讨论了医学实验室在实施EQA实践方面所面临的挑战,包括成本限制、资源有限和缺乏专业知识。


总体而言,其调查结果和文献综述为临床实验室EQA实践的现状提供了有价值的见解,并确定了有待改进的领域。这项研究对于实验室专业人员、实验室质控管理和政策制定者来说是一份重要的资源。


Reference:

Blasutig, I. M. et al. External quality assessment practices in medical laboratories: an IFCC global survey of member societies. Clin Chem Lab Med, doi:10.1515/cclm-2023-0057 (2023).

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36779362/

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