A Quality Undertaking
Connecting EQA and industry to ensure quality diagnostic testing
Beth Sheppard, Colin Tristram, John Garratt, Espen Walker, Jacqueline Hall |
At a Glance
- External quality assessment (EQA) ensures that diagnostic tests are reliable, accurate and translatable between laboratories
- Each laboratory’s selection of tests and procedures is different, and not all participate in similar EQA schemes, which makes quality assurance challenging
- Organizations like the International Quality Network for Pathology can bring together companies, EQA providers, and end users for the education of all
- With education comes greater understanding and the ability to shape future product development to better meet pathologists’ needs
Independent organizations around the world perform external quality assessment (EQA), or proficiency testing, to ensure that diagnostic laboratories produce valid and accurate test results. The need is clear – when using immunohistochemistry (IHC)-based diagnostics, for instance, it is critical to know (and be able to prove) that the staining results are accurate so that pathologists, physicians and other healthcare professionals can reliably use the tests to guide patient treatment.
Ensuring accuracy and precision in the EQA process is easier said than done. Different laboratories use different tests and procedures, resulting in variation across the field, but EQA schemes need to demonstrate accurate testing regardless of procedural variations within a laboratory or group. How is this accomplished?
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