A Comprehensive Guide to External Quality Assessment Programmes
The importance of External Quality Assessment (EQA) programmes in the realm of medical laboratories is beyond dispute. These programmes serve as external control mechanisms, underpinning the accuracy and reliability of diagnostic tests carried out by laboratories across the globe. By participating in EQA programmes, laboratories gain the ability to monitor their proficiency, identify areas for improvement, enhance their analytical performance, and above all, ensure top-tier patient care.
Today, we find ourselves faced with a multitude of EQA programmes, each touting its own, unique features and benefits. Therefore, the question that naturally follows is – how do you choose the right EQA programme for your laboratory?
Understand Your Laboratory’s Requirements
The first step towards selecting an EQA programme is to clearly understand the requirements of your laboratory. These requirements could encompass the range of tests performed, the desired frequency of assessment, and the specific areas where your lab wishes to improve
Examine the EQA Programmes
The next step is to critically examine each EQA programme. Look at the range of tests they cover, the frequency of their assessments, the type of samples they use, and their approach towards feedback and improvement.
One of the most critical aspects of an EQA programme is the results reporting mechanism. This mechanism should provide comprehensive and constructive feedback, highlighting areas of improvement, and offering guidance on how to enhance performance. It is also essential to consider the frequency of reporting. More frequent reporting allows laboratories to identify problems and implement corrective actions swiftly, aiding in the continuous improvement of a laboratory and the confident delivery of accurate patient results.
The accreditation of the EQA programme should also be evaluated. Superior programmes are accredited to ISO17043:2010. Participation in an accredited EQA programme is mandatory under ISO15189:2022 accreditation. Choosing a scheme accredited to ISO17043 ensures that the programme has been rigorously evaluated and meets the necessary criteria of a high-quality EQA programme.
The cost of the EQA programme should be compared to the benefits your laboratory will reap from participating in the scheme. Although cost should not be the sole determining factor, it’s a crucial element to consider. Factors such as consolidation and number of registrations are key areas where many providers differ.
Finally, it’s vital to consider the customer support provided by the EQA programme. Adequate support will ensure that any issues or queries are addressed in a timely and efficient manner
Our latest educational guide Choosing the Right EQA Programme has been constructed to help you with this decision. Providing more detail on the points discussed above and more, this guide displays how the world-renowned RIQAS EQA programmes can help you maximise the accuracy of your laboratory results and achieve ISO15189:2022 accreditation.
In conclusion, selecting the right EQA programme requires a careful and thorough evaluation of several factors. By taking the time to understand your laboratory’s needs, scrutinising each EQA programme, and considering factors such as reporting, accreditation, cost, and customer support, you can make a well-informed decision that will significantly enhance the proficiency of your laboratory and the quality of patient care.
Remember, the primary objective of an EQA programme is to help your laboratory improve. Therefore, the right EQA programme for your laboratory is the one that best assists you in achieving this objective.
Did you know that Randox is the company behind the RIQAS EQA scheme? RIQAS (Randox International Quality Assessment Scheme) is just one area of our comprehensive Quality Control portfolio. As such it is our resolution this New Year to introduce Randox as the brains behind RIQAS and show you that we are more than just an EQA provider by sharing our passion for laboratory QC.
Who are Randox Quality Control?
At Randox we believe in producing high quality material that can help streamline procedures, whilst saving time and money for laboratories of all sizes and budgets. With our extensive product offering comprising third party QC sera, interlaboratory data management software and calibration verification products, you can be sure that our complete QC solutions will provide you with a comprehensive overview of laboratory performance.
Seeing the complete picture with Randox QC
As one of the largest manufacturers of true third party, commutable controls we deliver high quality, cost effective quality control solutions designed to accurately assess instrument performance and provide confidence in patient test results.
Acusera 24.7 enables you to drive for more accurate results by helping you to monitor and interpret QC data. With access to an impressive range of features, including the automatic calculation of Measurement Uncertainty, Total Error and Sigma Metrics, Acusera 24.7 ensures analytical quality.
RIQAS is employed by more than 45,000 laboratory participants in 124 countries. With frequent reporting you will identify errors sooner ultimately reducing the need to carry out preventable, expensive retests on a large volume of patient samples.
The Acusera linearity sets cover a wide range of clinical testing including; cardiac markers, therapeutic drugs and proteins. Designed with convenience in mind, the range ultimately helps you to meet CLIA requirements for calibration verification and the assessment of linearity.
Beyond selling laboratory QC we are also passionate about education, offering a range of educational guides, seminars and webinars, with more to come throughout 2017. Check out our QC resources hub for our current educational material and let us know what educational material you would like to see.
For more information, or to request a visit from one of our QC Consultants, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.