RIQAS International Quality Assessment Scheme

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RIQAS is the largest international External Quality Assessment (EQA)/ Proficiency Testing (PT) scheme, there are currently more than 45,000 participants in 133 countries. World renowned for reducing the number of individual programmes required by even the most demanding laboratories, RIQAS covers 360 parameters across 33 flexible multi-parameter programmes.  Effective consolidation in this way will not only deliver real cost savings but free up storage space and ultimately reduce the time spent preparing multiple samples at each survey.

EQA Programmes available

Discover the Benefits of RIQAS

Comprising over 360 parameters in 33 comprehensive External Quality Control programmes, RIQAS can streamline EQA by significantly reducing the number of individual programmes required.  Consolidation in this way is guaranteed to save even the most demanding laboratories both precious time and money. With fewer samples to prepare, fewer reports to interpret and fewer kits to store the effect on productivity and efficiency is unrivalled.

RIQAS reports are presented in a simple one page per parameter format uniquely designed to facilitate at-a-glance performance assessment. Although user-friendly our standard quantitative report encompasses a wealth of information in the form of; Levey-Jennings charts, Histograms, % Deviation charts, % Deviation by concentration charts and our unique target scoring chart all providing a visual representation of laboratory performance over the last 20 samples. EQA reports are returned within 24-72 hours of the submission deadline, this rapid turnaround allows laboratories to identify any trends, bias or precision problems and take any necessary corrective actions immediately with minimal disruption to the lab.

Also available to participants is end-of-cycle, interlaboratory and multi-instrument reports. End-of-cycle reports are provided at the end of each cycle and summarise all statistics for the cycle in an easy to read format. Interlaboratory reports are ideal for lab group or lab chains. These allow comparative performance across multiple connected labs. Lastly, multi-instrument reports allow labs to compare the performance of up to 5 instruments within their lab.

The more frequent an EQA scheme can be run the better chance a laboratory has of being able to detect any errors sooner. This will allow any necessary corrective actions to be taken reducing the need for expensive repeat tests while ultimately improving the quality of laboratory test results. RIQAS delivers a choice of bi-weekly, monthly and quarterly options* (Programme Specific) all designed to assist in the early identification of laboratory errors.

Frequent analysis coupled with our rapid report turnaround will allow labs to pinpoint when an error occurred and implement any corrective actions necessary.

With 33 flexible EQA programmes available, RIQAS has something to suit every lab’s needs. Reduced parameter options are available for selected programmes allowing laboratories to select only the tests they run; in addition reduced reporting options are also available for many programmes enabling laboratories to select their desired frequency.  Unrivalled flexibility in this way ensures suitability for laboratories of all sizes and budgets.

The ability to register up to 5 instruments per programme at no extra cost will ultimately save money facilitating comparative performance assessment.

ISO 15189:2012 states that “the laboratory shall participate in inter-laboratory comparisons such as those organised by external quality assessment schemes..” Furthermore, it also argues that “EQA should, as far as possible, cover the entire range of tests, and the entire examination process, from sample reception, preparation and analysis to interpretation and reporting.”

Being part of a reputable External Quality Assessment scheme like RIQAS is highly encouraged by international and national regulatory bodies.

RIQAS systems and procedures are accredited to ISO 17043:2010 ‘Conformity Assessment – General Requirements for Proficiency Testing’ ensuring a high quality programme that is fit for purpose and will assist laboratories in meeting and maintaining ISO 15189:2012 standards.

In addition to ISO 17043:2010, RIQAS is recognised by the UK National Quality Assurance Advisory Panel (NQAAP) for Clinical Pathology and the Joint Working Group on Quality Assurance (JWG QA).

All RIQAS participants will receive a certificate of participation as at the end of each cycle providing they submit results for at least 50% of samples and will have unique access to an independent advisory panel of scientific and clinical experts.

RIQAS supplies blind samples delivering unbiased performance assessment.   All samples are manufactured with a matrix similar to that of the patient sample and designed to react to the test system in the same manner as the patient sample delivering an accurate indication of analytical performance – this can also be known as commutable or commutability.

Each cycle consists of 12 samples designed to cover the complete clinical range allowing identification of concentration related biases and ultimately ensuring reliable test system performance at key decision levels.

RIQAS.Net is an internet based data entry system allowing participants to return results and view reports online. Participants can submit results directly into the RIQAS database eliminating the need to fax or email EQA results. Reports are then emailed directly to participants in pdf format when available. Current and previous reports are also available to download directly from the internet.

What is External Quality Assessment

External Quality Assessment (EQA) sometimes referred to as Proficiency Testing (PT) is an essential aspect of any laboratory operation providing a means of assessing analytical performance compared to other laboratories using the same method and instrument.

EQA is designed to retrospectively monitor laboratory performance using ‘blind’ samples analysed as if they were patient samples. EQA results are submitted to the scheme organiser on a regular basis for statistical analysis; each individual laboratory will then receive a report comparing their performance to others participating in the same programme.

“A program in which multiple samples are periodically sent to members of a group of laboratories for analysis and/or identification; whereby each laboratory’s results are compared with those of other laboratories in the group and/or with an assigned value, and reported to the participating laboratories and others.”

 – CLSI GP27-A2 27:8

 

 

“a system of objectively checking laboratory results by means of an external agency…”

 – WHO External Assessment of Health Laboratories (1981)

Why Use EQA?

External Quality Assessment is an essential aspect of any laboratory operation providing labs with a means of assessing their analytical performance compared to other laboratories utilising the same methods and instruments. The main functions include:

  • Maintain and improve analytical quality
  • Improve inter-laboratory agreement and raise standards
  • Detect equipment faults, identify reagent problems and review staff training
  • Initiate and evaluate corrective actions
  • Compare performance to different analytical methods

Ongoing monitoring of EQA performance using an effective EQA scheme like RIQAS will help to reduce laboratory errors, produce accurate patient test results and most importantly improve patient care.

Regulatory requirements

Both national regulatory bodies and international standards encourage participation in a reputable EQA provider like RIQAS.

“The laboratory shall participate in inter-laboratory comparisons such as those organised by external quality assessment schemes. Laboratory management shall monitor the results of external quality assessment and participate in the implementation of corrective actions when control criteria are not fulfilled. Inter-laboratory comparison programmes shall be in substantial agreement with ISO/IEC Guide 43-1.”
– ISO15189 section 5.6.4

Ideal specifications of an EQA provider

An ideal EQA programme provider should provide the following:

  • International accreditation
  • ‘Blind’ samples
  • Large participant numbers
  • Stable and consistent sample matrix
  • Sample matrix similar to patient sample
  • Realistic range of analyte concentrations
  • Frequent analysis
  • Rapid feedback
  • Detailed reports
“EQA should, as far as possible, cover the entire range of tests, and the entire examination process, from sample reception, preparation and analysis to interpretation and reporting.”
– ISO 15189

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To get more information or to get started contact us using the form below.

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