The Importance of Third-Party Controls #LABWEEK2021
In the clinical laboratory, Quality Control (QC) refers to the process of detecting analytical errors to ensure both the reliability and accuracy of patient test results. Poor performance can result in misdiagnosis, delayed/inappropriate treatment, increased costs and may even be potentially life threatening for the patient. Third party controls offer a better solution to ensure optimum performance and accuracy.
When the laboratory professional runs the QC material on their instrument, they can compare the obtained result with the expected result. If these values are comparable, then the laboratory professional can be confident that their instrument is reporting accurately. Essentially, QC is a ‘practice run’ to ensure the testing system is working correctly.
Benefits Of Using Third-Party Controls
Third party controls have been designed to deliver an independent, unbiased assessment of performance with any instrument or method helping you gain accreditation. Below are some of the key benefits of third party controls:
- Values assigned using a large number of independent laboratories ensuring statistically valid targets.
- Highly consolidated controls allow for space, time, and ultimately, cost savings.
- Boosted shelf life ensures continuity of supply and reduced costs
- Reduced preparation times by removing the need for multiple instrument controls
Importance Of Third-Party Controls In The Midst Of COVID-19
Quality Control is a hugely important part of laboratory quality. Around 70% of clinical decisions are made based on laboratory results, so it is plain to see how significant Quality Control practices can be in relation to global health care. Having faith in the performance of the Quality Control used within the lab, as well as benefits gained from highly consolidated controls, allow for space, time, and ultimately, cost savings. These benefits would prove highly beneficial for any laboratory operating in the fast-paced environment posed by the pandemic.
How Randox Can Help
Randox Acusera true third party quality controls offer complete test menu consolidation for laboratory Internal Quality Control. Providing accurate and reliable sample material and delivering results you can trust.
Find out more: https://www.randox.com/laboratory-quality-control-acusera/
Want to know more?
Contact us or visit our Acusera page to learn more.
The RX series range of clinical chemistry analysers includes both semi-automated and fully automated testing for a range of clinical settings. With a world leading test menu comprising of routine chemistries, specific proteins, lipids, therapeutic drugs, drugs of abuse, antioxidants and diabetes testing, the RX series offers laboratories the complete clinical chemistry package and results you can trust. The RX series was built with three core values in mind – Reliability, Accuracy and Precision.
Consolidation of Routine & Specialised Testing on One Single Platform
With an extensive product portfolio covering over 100 disease markers within routine and nice testing, the RX series removes the need for a separate nephelometry system for specific proteins and allows laboratories to bring all testing in-house; thus ensuring minimal downtime and providing real cost savings through consolidation.
Low Reagents & Sample Volumes
Built with excellence in mind, the RX series range of analsyers require a low sample volume to deliver consistent high quality results which is beneficial when working with paediatric patients and animals. Combined with our high quality reagents, the RX series reduce the possibility of misdiagnoses, offering accurate, reliable and precise results each time, every time.
Unrivalled Customer Support
Our team of trained engineers are on hand to work with you in preserving the continuity of your operations while maximising the potential of your RX series instrument. We know time is critical in any laboratory and our global network means we are uniquely positioned to meet your needs with local service and support whenever you need it.
QCMD is a world leading External Quality Assessment (EQA) / Proficiency Testing (PT) scheme, dedicated to improving the quality of molecular diagnostic assays used in the detection of infectious diseases.
With an extensive database of over 2000 participants in over 100 countries, QCMD is one of the largest providers of molecular EQA in the field of molecular diagnostics.
A variety of programme options are available. Choose the number of challenges that best suit your laboratory’s requirements.
Online EQA Management System
ITEMS provides an online tool to easily manage all EQA activities from programme registration to submission of results and provision of EQA reports. Different levels of user access are available so data can be accessed by whoever needs it.
High level of participation
Over 2000 participants in more than 100 countries ensuring peer group numbers are maximised.
Receive individual reports for each challenge and a final supplementary report at the end of the cycle visual assessment of performance.
Programmes are accredited to ISO 17043.
- Blood Borne Viruses
- Central Nervous System Diseases
- Drug Resistance
- Exotic / Emerging Diseases
- Gastrointestinal Diseases
- Immunocompromised Associated Diseases
- Multiple Pathogen / Syndromic Infections
- Respiratory Diseases
- Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Transplant Associated diseases
- New Pilot Studies
After the close of the results return phase, EQA participants will receive an individual report outlining their performance relative to their method and technology groups. A supplementary report may be commissioned – this includes any additional relevant information regarding the annual EQA distribution, as well as scientific expert commentary and feedback on the overall results within that distribution.
*Randox are authorised by QCMD to provide the QCMD EQA schemes under a strategic global partnership. The EQA design, composition, data analysis & reporting remain the responsibility of QCMD. Please refer to specific geographical regions for further details on availability.
T’was the week before Christmas and all through the lab not a thing could be heard not even a sound. The analyser lay silent asleep in the corner, the lab staff at home dreaming of a few days’ rest, only a few more days to go before the big day!
The big man in red, what will he bring those who already have everything? Peace, happiness and health for their loved ones throughout the festive break, that would be the wish for everyone to make. And what better way to ensure they stay healthy, well it all begins in the laboratory…
An important consideration to remember when choosing your lab Quality Control (QC) is that approximately 70% of clinical decisions are based on laboratory test results. It is therefore essential that the results gained from laboratory testing are accurate and reliable in order to provide the appropriate treatment and avoid or prevent potential misdiagnosis.
Patient results are of the utmost importance for a laboratory and therefore running the best Quality Control material should be at the top of their agenda. QC material should have a number of features that allow a lab to judge the overall quality of their output. These features include the controls ability to be commutable (which means how well it reacts as a replicate of a patient sample), is it a true third party control that has been manufactured to provide an independent and unbiased assessment of performance, does your control come with clinically relevant levels and does it have a long shelf life as well as a good open vial or reconstituted stability? These are the questions lab staff will be asking themselves when deciding on what QC is the right QC.
So stay off Santa’s naughty list by providing accurate and reliable patient test results, do this by employing Randox QC in your laboratory. Our controls have been designed to deliver significant cost savings without sacrificing on quality. With consolidated controls (combining up to 100 analytes in a single vial) your lab can reduce QC costs and preparation time, the inclusion of analytes present at clinical decision levels will eradicate the need for additional controls and because of our long shelf life (2 years for liquid controls, 4 years for lyophilised) and excellent stability claims your laboratory can be sure that expensive lot changes will be a thing of the past! Our controls can be described as true third party and this, combined with the commutable nature of the controls, leads to us being able to claim that we have the best Quality Control material around.
So this Christmas when deciding what QC to choose – make sure you look no further than Randox Quality Control. Our QC family is known as Acusera and our product offering includes QC and calibrator material, Interlaboratory Data Management Program (Acusera 24.7), the world’s largest international EQA/PT scheme better known as RIQAS and the newest addition to the family, Linearity or Calibration Verification material.
We have packages for every lab regardless of size and budget and we guarantee you will become ho-ho-hooked on Randox QC.
Wishing you all season’s greetings and a prosperous New Year from everyone at Randox QC.
Results of our Liquid vs Lyophilised Poll
Having conducted a recent poll on our Social Media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter) asking our customers what format they preferred their quality control material in – liquid or lyophilised – we saw a large preference for liquid controls.
What does this poll result really tell us?
That most people prefer Liquid controls? Yes.
Lyophilised controls are not as popular amongst our social following? Yes.
However, it also tells us that even though most people chose a liquid format there was still almost a quarter of people who prefer to use lyophilised controls. Liquid and lyophilised controls both have their advantages and disadvantages, this blog is designed to help you decide which is the best fit for your lab.
Firstly, it is important to note that there are two distinct types of liquid control available on the market;Liquid ready-to-use and Liquid for ease-of-use, better known as Liquid Frozen. Both types of liquid controls reduce the potential for reconstitution errors and prevent contamination from poor quality water.
Liquid frozen controls must be thawed in a refrigerator before use, making them a little less convenient than the liquid ready-to-use alternative. They require no reconstitution so associated errors are removed. Due to the frozen nature of these controls, they are often shipped on dry ice to prevent thawing in transit, as such transportation costs can be significant.
Liquid ready-to-use controls are arguably the most favoured of the three formats and it is easy to understand why. The controls are simple to use, they require no preparation and there is no need to thaw before use.– With zero preparation required, these controls can be removed from the packaging and used right away! What’s more, they can be conveniently stored at 2-8oC minimising expensive shipping costs.
Another major benefit of using a liquid ready-to-use control is the fact that they are ideal for POCT (Point of Care Testing). The ability to use these controls on the spot is extremely beneficial to POC providers.
Lastly, the choice of 22% of respondents – lyophilised. This is freeze dried material which requires the laboratory professional to reconstitute the sample using sterilised water and mixing before use. Although this format is not as easy to use as either liquid control it does come with benefits. The enhanced stability of this control sees a shelf life of almost double the two years that is normal with a liquid control, however, the potential for reconstitution errors and the fact it is not as simple to use lead to the majority of people opting for a more convenient liquid control.
Randox Quality Control Range
With Randox QC there are a vast array of controls available in liquid ready-to-use and liquid frozen formats. Areas we have liquid frozen formats available in, include; Clinical Chemistry and Immunoassay.
Liquid ready-to-use controls can be found in the following; Liquid Cardiac, Blood Gas, Liquid Urine, Urinalysis, Specific Protein, Ammonia Ethanol, Haematology, Liquid HbA1c and Liquid Tumour Markers.
To register an interest in any of our controls simply contact us at acusera@Randox.com and let us know how we can help and support you or alternatively click here – where you will be redirected to our contact page.
“In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) Quality Controls Market” recently published by Markets and Markets has highlighted an overall significant growth within the Quality Control Market. Further growth is anticipated in the coming years with the Markets and Markets report estimating that the IVD QC market will be worth $979 million.
One area that is currently experiencing growth within this sector is the EQA segment, which Markets and Markets estimates to command a 6.6% share of the overall IVD market. The report is crediting growth within this segment to you, the customer, stating “…various end users or customers of IVD quality control products mostly prefer external support to run their quality control activities. For this, market players are largely focusing on providing external quality assurance (EQA) support”. As such companies such as Randox are being approached to provide EQA for a range of small, independent laboratories and large laboratory chains alike.
What other factors have contributed to this growth?
The adoption of ISO15189 and other similar standards is becoming mandatory in many countries, as discussed in a previous blog post. Accreditation highlights the accuracy and reliability of the patient results being released. ISO15189 states that “The laboratory shall participate in interlaboratory comparisons such as those organised by external quality assessment or proficiency testing schemes”. Therefore laboratory managers are employing EQA programmes in their laboratory to meet such requirements. EQA also enables laboratories to meet other accreditation requirements such as peer comparison and clinically relevant testing.
Selecting the right EQA for you
When selecting the right EQA scheme for your laboratory there are a number of considerations to be made; sample frequency, peer group numbers, report format, report turnaround and so on. According to a survey conducted by Randox Quality Control 55% of respondents listed sample frequency as the most important feature to be considered when selecting an EQA scheme. Sample frequency is an ongoing debate regarding EQA. However, schemes with frequent reporting will allow you to easily pinpoint when an error occurred and implement corrective actions with minimal disruption. Also making the top three key factors in this survey were; quality samples and peer group numbers.
What can Randox Quality Control offer?
As the largest international EQA scheme available on the market RIQAS offers laboratories around the world assurance that the results they are releasing are accurate and reliable. With more than 40,000 participant in 124 countries and 32 flexible programmes we are certain that the external support we offer for your quality control activities will provide you with the upmost confidence in your laboratory’s performance. Furthermore with our programmes accepted by national and international accreditation bodies worldwide employing RIQAS can help you gain accredited status providing your end users with peace of mind. With other benefits such as programme consolidation, rapid report turnaround, easy to read at-a-glance reporting and the ability to register up to 5 instruments per programme at no extra cost why don’t you contact us today and find out how we can support your quality control activity?
To request a visit from a QC consultant contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
Measurement of Uncertainty relates to the doubt that exists for the result of any measurement. For every measurement there is always a margin of doubt and therefore we need to ask ‘How big is the margin?’ and ‘How significant is the doubt?’.
In a hospital or healthcare environment, the clinician must be certain that any change identified in a patient’s test results is not a change to the laboratory test system but a change to the patient’s status. This is especially critical at clinical decision levels. Randox Quality Control has developed a guide to Measurement of Uncertainty in response to the demand for more information on the topic within the industry. This guide outlines what Measurement of Uncertainty is, how to measure uncertainty, factors which affect uncertainty and it’s sources.
Request your copy today!
Importance of using third party controls
The importance of using third party controls cannot be overlooked. Using these controls can help to identify instrument, reagent and procedural errors which, if undetected could lead to the reporting of incorrect patient results!
What is a third party control?
ISO 15189:2012 states “the use of third party control materials should be considered, either instead of, or in addition to, any control materials supplied by the reagent or instrument manufacturer.” True third party controls are not optimised for use with a specific reagent or test system and therefore are renowned for delivering unbiased performance assessment with any instrument/method. The manufacturers of third party controls will usually assign values based on data collected from thousands of independent reference labs – thus ensuring the availability of statistically valid data for a wide range of platforms. Due to their independent nature and objectively assigned values you can be sure that third party controls will provide unbiased error detection across multiples platforms and methods.
First party control
Conversely, first party controls are analyser dependent controls that are supplied by the instrument/reagent manufacturer and are optimised specifically for use with the manufacturers test system and therefore will often mask weaknesses which could lead to the release of incorrect patient test results. These dependent controls are considered to lead to perceived accuracy and a biased assessment of performance.
Acusera third party controls
The Randox Acusera range of multi-analyte controls are true third party. Our controls have been designed to deliver an independent, unbiased assessment of performance with instrument or method. Our unique value assignment process employs thousands of independent laboratories ensuring statistically valid targets are available for most laboratory instruments. The availability of multi-analyte, multi-instrument controls with a shelf life of up to 4 years not only ensures continuity of lot supply but will significantly reduce costs and preparation time by reducing the need for multiple instrument specific controls.
Case Study 1
A laboratory running Acusera Immunoassay Premium Plus Control reported their QC results for Thyroglobulin were four times higher on the their main analyser compared to other systems.
They ran the instrument manufacturer’s control alongside the Acusera control but it did not show the same problem.
After reviewing EQA data, the Randox Technical Services team confirmed there was a significant difference in results compared to other instruments.
The customer contacted their instrument manufacturer, who advised of a positive bias with several batches of reagent.
In summary, the Randox Immunoassay Control detected a shift in results that the instrument dedicated control did not.
Case Study 2
A laboratory noticed an increase in native patient sample result recovery of around 15-20%. The lab were running their Gentamicin reagent along with a TDM calibrator. Over recovery was also noted for EQA samples however, the issue had not been detected with their current control set.
The laboratory got in touch with Randox about the use of our controls and if they would experience the same problems with our controls as they are with their current provider. We assured the laboratory that our controls were true third party and the unique 100% human serum matrix would provide a sample as close as possible to that of the patient.
The laboratory decided to test a sample of Acusera TDM control and were delighted with the results. They purchased some of our therapeutic drug controls and have yet to experience any increase in the result recovery of patient samples highlighting the need to use true third party controls.
This case study once again highlights how important running true third party controls is to a laboratory. It can be the difference between them reporting accurate and reliable patient test results and reporting incorrect results that could lead to a misdiagnosis which could be fatal to the patient on the receiving end.