£50m Randox Centres of Excellence launched in Northern Ireland

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£50m Randox Centres of Excellence launched in Northern Ireland

A record £50 million investment which will deliver cutting-edge technologies to diagnose conditions like cancer, heart conditions and infectious diseases has been announced by Northern Ireland diagnostics company Randox Laboratories and Invest Northern Ireland.

This major project involves the establishment of three Centres of Excellence, enabling Randox R&D scientists to work collaboratively with colleagues from Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. The centres are being officially launched today at the Randox Science Park. The ceremony will include a keynote address from Sir John Bell, who chaired the UK Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Board.

Advanced diagnostics have been identified as key to delivering sustainable improvement to healthcare systems struggling to cope with increasing levels of chronic and preventable conditions. Having been focused in this field for over 36 years, Randox has a successful track record of developing new and innovative tests – examples include assessing those at risk of Alzheimer’s disease and genetic cardiac conditions, to promote and enable preventive treatment, and a new clinically-approved test to diagnose prediabetes.

Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, Dr Peter FitzGerald, who today launched the three Centres of Excellence, said;

 “When almost a quarter of the deaths of people under 75 in the UK are considered preventable, we need to ask ourselves what can be done to improve healthcare outcomes. There is an undeniable case for radical change in the way healthcare is delivered, and sophisticated diagnostics will be at the fore of this revolution.

“Enabling earlier and more accurate diagnosis, to identify those at the earliest stages of illness, ideally before the onset of any symptoms, is a game-changer. Through early intervention we can restrict the development of chronic conditions and improve people’s lives. Our view of the future is one where people are empowered through earlier diagnosis to stay healthier for longer, and where healthcare systems are freed to deliver quality services to patients. Our announcement today demonstrates our continuing commitment in this field.

“We are grateful for the support offered by Invest NI and look forward to addressing these pressing healthcare needs.”

The Centres of Excellence will focus respectively on clinical diagnostics, engineering for biosciences and quality control. The project, which will strengthen collaborative partnerships between Randox, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, will accelerate the development of new technologies and drive healthcare improvements regionally, nationally and across the globe.

Of the £23m of support offered by Invest NI, £5m will go toward research projects at Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast.

Welcoming the investment, Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive of Invest NI said;

“Randox has a long history of investing heavily in innovation and R&D which has enabled it to create a globally competitive export driven business, capable of developing world leading research. This major investment will enable Randox to perform cutting-edge R&D which has the potential to revolutionise the global healthcare industry. This is excellent news for Northern Ireland’s life and health sciences sector. Northern Ireland is enjoying a growing international reputation as a region of expertise and knowledge in key areas such as Diagnostics, Precision Medicine and Advanced Manufacturing. The three new Centres of Excellence will help build on this and enhance Northern Ireland’s credibility, provide supply chain opportunities, and encourage knowledge transfer with our universities.”    

Sir John Bell, commenting on the potential for the UK Life Sciences sector said;

“The life sciences industry represents one of the dominant economic sectors in the UK, and one with considerable potential for growth.   However, whilst we have many natural strengths we cannot afford to be complacent.  We must strive to optimise our science base, to encourage collaboration across academia, industry and the NHS, and grow our industrial capabilities.  To do so we need to use our extensive data sets to best effect, and have in place a strong skills strategy.  Success requires vision and drive.  To that end I would like to congratulate Dr FitzGerald and Randox in the establishment of these three R&D collaborative Centres of Excellence – these are assets of national standing and will have a meaningful impact in enabling earlier and more accurate diagnosis, driving improvements in patient care, regionally, nationally and globally.  They are leaders in this field, committed to innovation, and I wish them every success.”

Professor Jim McLaughlin, Director of Ulster University’s Nanotechnology and Integrated Bioengineering Centre, added;

“This very welcome investment enables pioneering Randox-inspired engineering capacity at Ulster University and reflects our research commitment to the life sciences industry. From nanotechnology to the development of systems that will enable large scale laboratory capability to be produced in the palm of your hand, the partnership brings shared industry and academic research excellence from the lab into the marketplace. Life sciences is a vital economic sector locally and this collaboration will advance diagnostics and ultimately enhance patient health outcomes.”

Dr David Jess, Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast School of Mathematics and Physics, added;

“The Randox Centres of Excellence will allow Queen’s University Belfast to continue to deliver cutting-edge and world leading research. We look forward to collaborating further with industry to develop pioneering research, focused on the needs of society.”

Invest NI’s R&D support is part funded by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014 – 2020.

For further information please contact the Randox PR Team: phone 028 9442 2413 or email randoxpr@randox.com 

 


Take control of your heart health with Randox

Your heart is amazing. Not only is it your most critical organ but also one of the most hard-working. The average adult heart beats around 100,000 times a day, acting as a giant pump for all the blood in your body. Indeed, every day your heart pumps over nine litres of blood through a system of blood vessels over 60,000 miles long – it’s little wonder, then, the importance placed on looking after such a vital muscle.

The heart works 24/7, only taking a rest when you sleep with the natural drop of heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, and influenced by lifestyle choices, the heart grows weaker, needing to work harder to fulfil its function. Crucial lifestyle changes now could limit your risk of developing serious cardiac conditions, such as Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) in the future. Factors which can contribute to your CVD risk include genes inherited from parents or grandparents, smoking, an unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol consumption and low physical activity levels.

You can’t change your DNA, but you can find out what it means to you and your family. One of our advanced tests can identify people living with a common but often hidden disorder – Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH). Fewer than 12% of people in the UK know they have this potentially fatal condition. It is characterised by dangerously high levels of cholesterol which can lead to early onset cardiovascular disease.

While lifestyle changes may help to limit your risk of CVD, and related heart condition, it is impossible to eradicate it completely for everyone. Accounting for 31% of deaths worldwide, CVD is the number one cause of death globally but early screening could lower this figure significantly.   That’s why it’s vitally important to detect CVD early before a coronary event like a heart attack occurs.

Today in the UK, 530 people will go to the hospital with a suspected heart attack. Only a fifth of these people will actually be having a heart attack. According to a team from King’s College London, as reported by the BBC, a faster, more accurate diagnosis of whether chest pain is caused by a heart attack would save the health service millions of pounds each year by sending well patients home and freeing up beds. Yet current testing methods do not efficiently differentiate between high-risk patients and the estimated 80% of patients who are not having a heart attack.

Randox’s revolutionary test for Heart-Type Fatty Acid-Binding Protein (H-FABP), when combined with current testing, is able to rule out a heart attack for patients who present at A&E with chest pain which is caused by other conditions such as respiratory issues, meaning they may not need emergency admission.

When measured at the time a patient presents to A&E with chest pain, H-FABP enables doctors to triage patients suffering with a heart attack more efficiently than before, making sure those at high-risk are given medical intervention earlier.

Early screening in the form of a comprehensive health check is essential to detect cardiac irregularities before they become serious problems. Heart damage builds up over time, meaning that when detected early enough, lifestyle changes can help to reduce cardiac risk and potentially even prevent a cardiac event occurring.

Therefore, it is vitally important that individuals are tested for CVD to detect them in the earliest stages to reduce damage, prevent further damage, or even death.  Furthermore, many people suffer from inherited cardiac risk factors, which stresses the need for accurate testing.

Randox offer the complete laboratory solution to cardiac risk assessment information to doctors and hospitals, and also directly to the public at Randox Health. Our range of both traditional and novel cardiac risk biomarkers, along with our technologically-advanced range of analysers, serves to allow us to offer the most advanced, most accurate health check available on the planet.

As well as your cardiovascular risk score, a Randox Health check will also assess your cholesterol levels, FH risk, triglycerides, creative kinase, myoglobin, troponin levels and many more heart health indicators. In total, a Randox Health check can assess up to 350 different markers of irregularity or disease in the whole body, from heart to hormone health and skin to stomach.

Many serious future health issues are preventable now with action. Find out more about our health check programmes here.

 

About Randox Health

Randox Health is a global leader in healthcare diagnostics; today more than 5% of the world’s population – in excess of 370 million people across 145 countries – receives medical diagnosis using Randox products each year.

 

After investing over £220 million in the invention and production of revolutionary blood-science technology, a single Randox Health check will deliver a complete picture of your health – as it is now and, crucially, how it is likely to develop in the future.

Randox Health has proven that signs of disease or irregularity can be caught at their earliest stage. This means that, with early action, some cases of illness can even be prevented altogether. Our health checks include, but are not limited to, cancer surveillance, fertility monitoring, heart health, nutrition, digestive and diabetes health.

In other words, from one health check, you’ll receive up to 350 results and afterwards avail of expert advice from the Randox scientists or a Randox Health GP. Not only that, but a complete 12-month programme and repeat testing come as standard so you can have full confidence that you are really taking care of yourself.

 

Find out more information about Randox Health checks here: https://www.randoxhealth.com/our-packages/

 

RX Series

Randox has developed the RX series range of clinical chemistry analysers for high-quality semi-automated and fully automated testing. Choose between the RX misano, RX monaco, RX daytona+, RX imola, and the RX modena depending on the throughput of your laboratory. The RX series offers a suitable analyser for your laboratory’s needs.  For more information on the Randox RX series, please click here or email therxseries@randox.com

 

Reagents

Randox offers an extensive range of third party diagnostic reagents which are internationally recognised as being of the highest quality; producing accurate and precise results. We have the largest test menu of 118 assays, covering over 100 disease markers including specific proteins, lipids, therapeutic drug monitoring, drugs of abuse, antioxidants, coagulation, diabetes and veterinary testing. A wide range of formats and methods are available providing greater flexibility and choice for any laboratory size. In addition to flexible pack sizes and a comprehensive list of analyser applications, we can also provide dedicated reagent packs (Randox Easy Read and Easy Fit regents) for a wide range of chemistry analysers providing you with freedom of choice from an independent manufacturer.

For more information on Randox Reagents, please click here or email reagents@randox.com

 

Acusera – Internal Quality Control

The Acusera cardiac controls have been designed to cover a wide range of cardiac markers at clinical decision levels, eliminating the extra expense of an additional low level control.  The controls are available in a both liquid ready-to-use and lyophilized formats making them ideal for all situations and manufactured from 100% human serum a matrix similar to that of the patient is guaranteed.  For more information on the Randox Acusera internal quality control, please click here or email acusera@randox.com

 

RIQAS – External Quality Control

The RIQAS Liquid Cardiac EQA programme is designed to monitor the performance of up to 9clinically significant cardiac markers including: CK-MB mass, D-dimer, Digoxin, homocysteine, hsCRP, myoglobin, NT proBNP, troponin I, and troponin T.  RIQAS is ISO/IEC 17043 accredited and allows the registration of up to five instruments at no extra cost.  All samples are 100% human serum and provided in a liquid ready-to-use format for enhanced convenience.  Submit your results bi-weekly and view reports online via RIQAS.Net.  For more information on RIQAS, the world’s largest international EQA scheme, please click here or email acusera@randox.com

 

For further information, please contact the Randox PR team via email: randoxpr@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413


The Complete Solution to Cardiac Risk Assessment

“CVDs are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause”.  In 2015, roughly 17.7 million people died from CVD, representing 31% of all global deaths: 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke. (WHO, 2017)

 

Cardiac health and regular cardiovascular screening is important to enable risk factors to be detected in their earliest stages.  There are a few factors which contribute to CVD.  These include: smoking, unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol consumption, low physical activity levels.  Whilst there are only a few factors contributing to CVD, these can be maintained by the patient through living a healthy lifestyle including: quitting smoking, consuming no more than the recommended allowance of alcohol, cutting out junk food, and exercising for 30 minutes a day, 3 – 5 days a week.  In a perfect world, this would be easy and CVD would not be a global problem.  However, due to busy lifestyles, cravings, reduced willpower, and convenience, not all individuals in today’s world will be able to avoid CVDs.  Therefore, it is vitally important that individuals are tested for CVDs to detect them in the earliest stages to reduce damage, prevent further damage, or even death.  Furthermore, many individuals suffer from inherited cardiac risk factors, which stresses the need for accurate testing of both traditional and novel cardiac risk biomarkers.

 

Randox offer the complete solution to cardiac risk assessment including: RX analysers, traditional and novel reagents, internal quality control (Acusera), and external quality control (RIQAS).

 

RX Series

Randox has developed the RX series range of clinical chemistry analysers for high-quality semi-automated and fully automated testing. Choose between the RX misano, RX monaco, RX daytona+, RX imola, and the RX modena depending on the throughput of your laboratory. The RX series offers a suitable analyser for your laboratory’s needs.  For more information on the Randox RX series, please click here or email therxseries@randox.com

 

Reagents

As previously mentioned, early assessment of cardiac risk is vital. Randox offer a range of novel risk biomarkers for both very early and the genetic assessment of cardiac risk.

The niche Adiponectin assay allows for the early assessment of CVD.  Adiponectin levels are inversely correlated with abdominal visceral fat which has proven to be a strong predictor of T2DM.  Body-Mass Index (BMI) is a common method for determining which patients are classified as underweight, healthy, overweight or obese, however, BMI does not take into account gender, ethnicity or activity levels.  For example, measuring the BMI of athletes who have a high BMI due to muscle weighing heavier than fat would classify them as obese which is inaccurate.  Measuring adiponectin levels is therefore a much more reliable indicator of at-risk patients compared to BMI.

LDL cholesterol is often referred to as the ‘bad cholesterol’.  High concentrations of LDL-cholesterol is considered to be the most important clinical predictor, of all single parameters, with respect to coronary atherosclerosis.  However, sLDL is a smaller, more dense subfraction of LDL-cholesterol.   sLDL particles more readily permeate the inner arterial wall and are more susceptible to oxidation.  Individuals with a predominance of sLDL have a 3-fold increased risk of myocardial infarction.  Measurement of sLDL allows the clinician to get a more comprehensive picture of lipid risk factors and tailor treatment accordingly.

Elevated levels of Lp(a) are considered to be both a casual risk factor and independent genetic marker of atherosclerotic disorders.  The major challenge associated with Lp(a) measurement is the size variation of apo(a) within Lp(a).  Dependent upon the size of apo(a) in the assay calibrator, many assays under or overestimate apo(a) size in the patient sample.  Numerous commercially available products suffer apo(a) size related bias, resulting in an over estimation of Lp(a) in samples with large apo(a)molecules and an under estimation in samples with small apo(a) molecules.  The antibody used in the Randox method detects the complete Lp(a) molecule providing accurate and consistent results.  This was proven by the IFCC who developed a gold standard ELISA reference assay and compared 22 commercially available tests.  The Randox Lp(a) method displayed the least (minimal) amount of apo(a) size related bias, proving it be a superior offering.

HDL3 Cholesterol is a smaller and more dense subfraction of the HDL particle.  HDL is the scavenger of cholesterol within arterial walls and the levels of HDL3 is too low, the ability to remove this cholesterol is reduced.  Therefore, it is widely accepted that there is an inverse correlation between HDL3 and CVD risk.

Instrument Specific Applications (ISA’s) are available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers.  Contact us to enquire about your specific analyser.

For more information on Randox Reagents, please click here or email reagents@randox.com

 

Acusera – Internal Quality Control

The Acusera cardiac controls have been designed to cover a wide range of cardiac markers at clinical decision levels, eliminating the extra expense of an additional low level control.  The controls are available in a both liquid ready-to-use and lyophilized formats making them ideal for all situations and manufactured from 100% human serum a matrix similar to that of the patient is guaranteed.  For more information on the Randox Acusera internal quality control, please click here or email acusera@randox.com

 

RIQAS – External Quality Control

The RIQAS Liquid Cardiac EQA programme is designed to monitor the performance of up to 9clinically significant cardiac markers including: CK-MB mass, D-dimer, Digoxin, homocysteine, hsCRP, myoglobin, NT proBNP, troponin I, and troponin T.  RIQAS is ISO/IEC 17043 accredited and allows the registration of up to five instruments at no extra cost.  All samples are 100% human serum and provided in a liquid ready-to-use format for enhanced convenience.  Submit your results bi-weekly and view reports online via RIQAS.Net.  For more information on RIQAS, the world’s largest international EQA scheme, please click here or email acusera@randox.com

 

For further information, please contact the Randox PR team via email: randoxpr@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413

cardiac

 


Reconstituting Lyophilised Controls

What is Lyophilisation?

Lyophilisation or ‘freeze drying’ is the process by which water is removed from a product after it is frozen and placed under a vacuum, allowing the ice to change directly from solid to vapor without passing through a liquid phase. The process consists of three separate processes:

  1. Freezing
  2. Primary Drying (Sublimation)
  3. Secondary Drying (Desorption)

There are many benefits to using a lyophilised control including; improved product shelf-life and enhanced stability of volatile analytes. For example, many lyophilised controls have a shelf life of up to four years from the date of manufacture resulting in a reduction of costly new lot validation studies. Furthermore, lyophilised controls can be aliquoted and refrozen to extend the working stability of the product.

Reconstituting Lyophilised QC Material

The process of reconstitution involves adding a specified volume of distilled water to lyophilised QC material. The water should completely dissolve the lyophilised contents, giving a liquid solution, which is ready for analysis.

Reconstitution is a straightforward process, but requires a high level of precision. Small errors can have serious implications to the reconstituted material:

  • If too much water is pipetted during reconstitution, the material will be heavily diluted and results will be lower than expected
  • If too little water is pipetted during reconstitution, the material will not be sufficiently diluted, and results will be higher than expected
  • If the correct volume of water is pipetted, but a small amount of water gets stuck in the pipette tip due to poor pipetting technique, results will be higher than expected

If a lyophilised control has been reconstituted incorrectly the contents of the vial will be wasted. It is therefore vitally important that controls are reconstituted with care.

Materials and Methods Required

The list of requirements for an accurate and consistent reconstitution technique is not extensive, but each requirement is vital. Labs should have:

  • Calibrated volumetric pipettes
  • Sterile, appropriately sized pipette tips
  • Distilled water, or other reconstitution fluid as specified
  • Technician with good pipetting technique
  • Lyophilised QC stored according to manufacturer’s specifications

How to Reconstitute Lyophilised QC Material

Each different lyophilised control may require slightly different preparation, always refer to the instructions for use before reconstituting control material. The below guide provides a general overview of the reconstitution process, using the Randox Human Assayed Chemistry Premium Plus control (HN1530) as an example

  1. Place the vial of lyophilised QC on a flat surface, carefully remove the lid and the rubber stopper making sure not to spill any material
  2. Using a calibrated pipette and sterilised pipette tip, add exactly 5ml of distilled water directly into the QC vial, ensuring no water is left in the pipette tip, or on the rim/side of the vial
  3. Place the rubber stopper and lid firmly back onto the QC vial, and leave to stand for 30 minutes
  4. After 30 minutes, gently invert the QC vial 10-15 times to ensure the contents is completely dissolved, making sure to avoid the formation of foam. It is important that you DO NOT SHAKE the vial. Alternatively place the vial on a roller for 30 minutes to ensure the contents is thoroughly mixed
  5. Once satisfied all material has been completely dissolved, proceed to use the QC product in accordance with the ‘Control’ section of the individual analyser application
  6. Once finished, refrigerate any unused material. It is good practice to label the vial with the date of reconstitution to prevent the use of material outside of the recommended stability period
  7. Prior to reusing lyophilised material, mix the contents thoroughly by gentle inversion, as highlighted in Step 4

Additional Considerations

It is important to remember that there may be slightly different reconstitution requirements for different QC material. For this reason, it is vital that the instructions provided on the QC Kit Inserts are closely followed.

Reconstituting lyophilised QC can be time-consuming. Therefore, Randox Acusera offer convenient 5ml distilled water serum diluent to assist laboratories with reconstitution of lyophilised controls. These user-friendly pour over vials streamline the reconstitution process and eliminate the risk of pipetting errors.

If you have any further questions regarding lyophilised controls or would like to contact us, please do so by emailing us at acusera@randox.com or use the contact us button provided.


This Christmas, treat your laboratory to the “gift” of Randox Quality Control

At Christmas time all around the globe, people search for the best gift for their loved ones, something they will really like. At Randox Quality Control, we understand you care for your patients, and your laboratory. This year, show how much you care by treating your lab to a Randox Quality Control.

With over 35 years’ experience in the market, Quality Control is our passion and streamlining QC practice is our forte! Our extensive product offering comprises true third party controls, interlaboratory data management, external quality assessment and calibration verification.

Last year we looked in depth at Acusera – our range of true third party controls. This year, lets add another product to the Christmas wish list in the form of RIQAS, the world’s largest EQA scheme. Don’t wait until Christmas to wake up to a RIQAS programme under your tree – enrol in one of our comprehensive programmes today.

With over 45,000 laboratory participants across 133 countries, our RIQAS portfolio spans 32 comprehensive programmes ranging from Chemistry to Immunoassay, Lipids to Cardiac, Drugs to Serology and much more!

User-friendly, one page per parameter reports are available within 72 hours of the submission deadline.  These reports enable at-a-glance performance assessment, ultimately allowing your laboratory to save valuable time. You will also gain access to complimentary multi-instrument and inter-laboratory reports as well as an end-of-cycle report  summarising laboratory performance for each cycle and helping to identify progress over time.

Consolidation is key – and with an extensive parameter index available (up to 360 parameters) RIQAS will help you to significantly reduce costs, time and the number of individual programmes required to cover your test menu.

All RIQAS samples are free from interfering preservatives ensuring a commutable matrix that reacts to the test system in the same manner as a patient sample.

Additionally, enrolling in RIQAS isn’t just enrolling in an EQA scheme. Our programmes are accepted by National and International accreditation bodies worldwide and at the end of each cycle, participation in the scheme results in a certificate that can be used to decorate your laboratory all year around – not just at Christmas!

So this Christmas don’t give your laboratory second best, choose RIQAS, and reap the rewards.

To find out more on any of our RIQAS programmes visit our website – https://www.randox.com/riqas-external-quality-assessment/ or email us at acusera@randox.com

Randox Quality Control wish you all Season’s Greetings & a Prosperous New Year!


Mythbusting: ‘Using IQC and EQA From the Same Provider Leads to QC Bias’

Some laboratory professionals believe that using Internal Quality Control (IQC) and External Quality Assurance (EQA, also known as Proficiency Testing) material from the same provider can lead to increased levels of qc bias, or that their test system will not be appropriately challenged. It is important to address these concerns, because some labs may in fact be hindering their own performance by using IQC and EQA material from different sources.

It is important to first understand how IQC and EQA work together to help form a complete Laboratory Quality Management System.

IQC and EQA in Laboratory Quality Management

IQC is a means of monitoring test system precision on a daily basis. IQC effectively evaluates test system performance over time, so that any sudden or gradual shifts in performance can be detected. However, while IQC is an effective performance monitor, it cannot detect more intricate problems like calibration errors or wide acceptable limits provided by some QC manufacturers.

EQA is essential for challenging test system accuracy, and is carried out less frequently than IQC testing. EQA samples are tested ‘blind’ and the results are returned to the scheme organiser. As EQA testing compares an individual lab’s performance to other labs using the same method and instrument, it is a very effective tool for identification of potential issues.

Is there any disadvantage to using IQC and EQA material from the same provider?

The answer to this question depends primarily on the source material of the IQC and EQA. If an IQC provider manufactures their material using artificial additives or components of animal origin, then it will not be suitable to use EQA material from the same provider. Westgard (2011) maintains that using non-commutable IQC or EQA material can lead to results becoming compromised due to matrix effects – something which would not happen using commutable controls.

For example, with Immunoassay testing, non-human components of IQC material interact with antibodies in the reagent in a different way to fully human patient samples – ultimately giving unpredictable shifts, and not adhering to the ISO 15189 requirement to: “use quality control materials that react to the examining system in a manner as close as possible to patient samples”.

However, if the IQC and EQA material is manufactured using a source material which is similar in composition to patient samples (100% human), this commutable control will adequately mimic patient sample performance; meaning labs can use EQA and IQC material from the same provider with confidence that the integrity of their results is maintained.

Conclusion

ISO 15189 also states: “Use of independent third party control materials should be considered…”. In this instance, ‘Independent’ does not mean from a separate provider. It means that the QC material should not be optimized for use on one specific instrument (i.e. not dependent on a single instrument/method type).

No regulatory body states a requirement to use different providers for IQC and EQA material. Indeed, using IQC from one provider and EQA from another provider could increase the risk of labs using non-commutable material.

Labs should use commutable IQC and EQA material for a true assessment of their test system. Randox QC and RIQAS EQA are specifically designed with commutability in mind, giving labs a control which reflects patient sample performance and ensures excellent performance.

How can we help?

To learn how Randox can offer a complete solution for your laboratory, follow the links below or submit a question using the form above.

References

Westgard, S. (2011). Is QC Quality Compromised?. Available: https://www.westgard.com/qc-quality-compromised.htm. Last accessed 31st October 2017.

Mythbusting QC Bias
Got a question?

Westgard’s Great Global QC Survey 2017

In a QC survey conducted this year, Sten Westgard reached out to more than 45,000 laboratory professionals to gain a comprehensive view of the world’s Quality Control practices. It was one of the largest surveys that have been conducted and shared publicly.

Read on as we take a summarised look at our favourite bits.

Setting control Limits

Most labs are using their actual performance to set their mean and SD, however, a large percentage of labs still use manufacturer’s ranges, peer group ranges, and other non-individual sources for SD. These ranges can typically be set wider than they would if the ranges were based on their actual mean and SD. This can result in labs releasing incorrect patient results.

Laboratories were asked if they used 2 SD control limits on all tests and it was found that a majority use 2 SD. The strict use of 2 SD can generate a high level of false rejections (9% for two controls and higher for three). This causes a high level of out-of-control events; the use of QC multi-rules is recommended.

Respondent Map - Westgard QC Survey

The types of Controls used by labs

More than 60% of labs were found to be using manufacturer controls, the drawbacks of which are well known. The latest ISO standards strongly encourage the use of independent / third-party controls. Westgard speculates that this will become a mandatory requirement in the next version of ISO 15189.

Frequency of QC

The first question about frequency asked how often labs ran QC during a run. Respondents reported how often they schedule QC in their labs. Around half only run QC at the beginning of a run with labs running it throughout the day coming in close second. A small proportion of labs reported running QC at both the beginning and the end of a run.

The final, least popular option involves spacing out QC based on test volume, the most scientific method determining how many patient samples can be run between controls without raising the risk of unacceptable results.

The next question asked about the overall frequency of QC. Most labs are meeting the once-a-day minimum standard for CLIA regulations.

“QC frequency remains primarily based on the rotational speed of the earth, not driven by needs of the clinician and patient.” – Sten Westgard

QC Frequency Influences

Regulator and accreditation requirements lead the way in influencing the frequency of QC with manufacturer recommendations, and professional judgement following close behind. Only a quarter of labs use the volume of testing to guide their QC frequency and one in six look to EP23 or IQCP for guidance.

Managing QC

Most labs are using on-board instrument informatics to support their QC charting, followed by LIS charting programs, and peer group software.

Of significance is the number of labs using Excel spreadsheets as their primary QC tool as well as standalone QC programs or even manual graph paper. This could be due to varying technological capabilities where some locations may not have access to, or the funds to afford, informatics.

A combined third of labs are out-of-control every day. In some labs this could be the result of running such a high volume of controls that false rejections are inevitable. However, rationalising in this way can lead to ‘alert fatigue’, where users begin to ignore alert flags and stop troubleshooting.

More than a quarter of labs have an out-of-control flag every few days while another roughly one in six have just one per week. A small number of labs report having few QC flags.

Managing QC Costs

Finally, laboratories were asked about the steps they take to manage QC costs. 60% claimed that they take no steps to manage costs. One in six reduced QC frequency, one in eight switched to cheaper controls, while, worryingly, almost one in ten changed their QC rules or widened limits.

Conclusion

Westgard’s Global QC Survey suggests there exists many inefficient implementations of Quality Control, with plenty of room for improvement. The current state of QC is, like many aspects of healthcare, unsustainable. Labs must adopt better approaches or risk their continuing feasibility, or worse, their patient’s results.

How Randox Can Help

Westgard highlights particular issues with labs mismanaging costs, still using manufacturer controls, and setting control limits this is where Randox comes in.

Acusera Third Party Controls offer the highest quality solution for any lab – regardless of size or budget. Designed to provide an unbiased, independent assessment of performance, our internal quality controls have not been manufactured in line with, or optimised for use with any particular reagent, method or instrument helping you to easily meet ISO 15189 recommendations. Unrivaled consolidation allows for significant cost savings.

Acusera 24•7 Live Online allows you to automatically apply multi-rules and generate charts to help with setting accurate control limits, helping you get your quality control under control.

Reference: Westgard, S (2017), The 2017 Great Global QC Survey Results

To learn more about how Randox Quality Control can help you improve your QC visit the pages below or fill out the contact form and someone will be in touch.


Diabetes – World Diabetes Day (14th Nov 2017)

World Diabetes Day

With World Diabetes Day on Tuesday 14th November 2017, we take a look at what diabetes is and why quality control is so important.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a life-long condition which occurs when the glucose level in the blood is too high because it can’t enter the body’s cells to be used as fuel. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. They are distinct conditions and must be treated and managed differently.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type one diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks insulin-producing cells, this causes a lack of insulin, leading to an increased blood glucose level. Around 10% of people with diabetes has type 1.

Type 2 Diabetes

A mixture of genetic and environmental factors causes type 2 diabetes. The body doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin it does create does not work correctly, leading to a glucose build up in the blood. It’s thought that up to 58% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through healthy lifestyle choices.

Role of Quality Control

Quality control plays a crucial role in ensuring accurate and reliable diabetes monitoring. 70% of medical decisions are based on a laboratory test result and QC is vital in ensuring the results the laboratory report are both accurate and reliable.

Want to know what makes a good HbA1c control? Read on to find out.

Clinically Relevant Levels

In the diagnosis of diabetes, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) in blood provides an indication of average blood glucose levels in the previous three months. HbA1c is the recommended standard of care for type 2 diabetes monitoring. HbA1c is measured using the range below:

HbA1c – Clinically Relevant Levels
HbA1cmmol/mol%
NormalBelow 42 mmol/molBelow 6.0%
Prediabetes42 to 47 mmol/mol6.0% to 6.4%
Diabetes48 mmol/mol or over6.5% or over

It is important to assess the full clinical range of an assay, i.e. the range between the lowest and highest results which can be reliably reported. 48 mmol/mol is the cut-off for diabetes diagnosis, it is crucial that this can be measured accurately because any inaccuracy could mean the difference between being diagnosed and treated and not.

In terms of accreditation, ISO 15189:2012 states, ‘The laboratory should choose concentrations of control materials wherever possible, especially at or near clinical decision values, which ensure the validity of decisions made’.

Benefits of Third Party Controls

The importance of third party controls is evident. Third party controls can help identify instrument, reagent, and procedural errors. Unchecked these errors could lead to incorrect patient results, further leading to misdiagnosis.

Third party quality control material has not been designed or optimised for use with any instrument, kit, or method. This complete independence enables the quality control material to closely mirror the performance of patient samples, and in doing so, provide an unbiased, independent assessment of analytical performance across multiple platforms.

Again, in terms of accreditation, ISO 15189 states – “use of independent third party control material should be considered, either instead of, or in addition to, any control materials supplied by the reagent or instrument manufacturer.”

Many laboratories perform HbA1c testing on a dedicated machine and as a result, are not always using a third party control.

Controlling Waste

Wastage is a common issue when running HbA1c due to the pre-treatment step required for many HbA1c controls and poor stability of some controls on the market. Look out for controls with an extended open vial stability to help reduce waste and keep costs low.

How can Randox help?

To help you get your QC in check for World Diabetes Day, Randox Acusera HbA1c control contains both HbA1c and Total Haemoglobin, with a reconstituted stability of 4 weeks to reduce waste and reduce costs. To find out more about our HbA1c control visit the page using the button below or fill out the form above.

World Diabetes Day

References

Diabetes: The basics. (2017). Diabetes UK. Retrieved 3 November 2017, from https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics

Khan, H et al. (2016). Significance of HbA1c Test in Diagnosis and Prognosis of Diabetic Patients. Biomarker Insights, 95. http://dx.doi.org/10.4137/bmi.s38440


Get your teeth into a Randox commutable control this Halloween

Get your teeth into a Randox commutable control this Halloween

It is that time of year again – when people dress up, children trick-or-treat and many a scary story is told in households around the world. An age-old tradition celebrated globally by millions of people – it can only be Halloween.

Last year Randox QC brought you the truly scary story about a laboratory who chose not to use a third party control, but eventually “treated their laboratory to a true third party control”. This year, we have another scary story for you about a lab manager in Transylvania, Dr. Acula.

It was a normal, busy day in the lab for Dr. Acula. That was until it was time to change reagent batch, after changing batch of reagent Dr. Acula was shocked to find his QC results had shifted by over 20%.  This left Dr. Acula very frustrated, having to spend precious time troubleshooting and reassigning QC targets. After troubleshooting showed no apparent root cause, Dr. Acula searched the internet for an answer finally stumbling upon an educational guide from Randox Quality Control on commutability and its many benefits to the lab.

Grinning from ear-to-ear with excitement, Dr. Acula began to read the guide in the hope of finding a solution to his problem – and solutions he found. While reading the guide, Dr. Acula came across a quote from ISO 15189:2012.  It read that laboratories “must use quality control materials that react to the examining system in a manner as close as possible to the patient sample”.

Dr. Acula made a decision to look for a commutable control material that met all of his requirements and he didn’t have to search very far. Randox Quality Control were able to supply Dr. Acula and his laboratory with a QC material to meet all his needs – true third party, excellent stability, consistency and consolidation but most importantly of all commutable controls.  The fact all Randox immunoassay and immunology controls are manufactured from 100% human material appealed to Dr. Acula a lot.  After trialing the Randox control material alongside patient samples and comparing results between reagent batches, Dr. Acula was thrilled with the results.

Labs rely heavily on quality control to detect errors in their test system and to ultimately make critical decisions regarding the accuracy and reliability of patient test results, the use of a control that reacts to the test system in the same manner as a patient sample is therefore essential.

At Randox Quality Control we take quality seriously. All our QC products are manufactured to the highest possible standard ensuring controls of unrivalled quality time and time again. Designed to be commutable, the Acusera range will ensure accurate and reliable instrument performance while simultaneously helping laboratories meet ISO 15189:2012 requirements.

Just ask Dr. Acula, who likes our 100% human controls so much he has started to drink them himself!


World Heart Day – 29th September 2017

World Heart Day – 29th September – Introduction

This year (29th September 2017) join us as we help to raise awareness for World Heart Day! The theme for this year’s World Heart Day is to share the power – and you know what they say… “Knowledge is Power” so throughout this blog we will be providing vital knowledge as well as tips to having a healthy heart!

The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood around the body and is indeed central to your circulatory system. The system consists of a network of blood vessels, including, veins, arteries and capillaries. These vessels transport blood – as well as carrying oxygen and other important nutrients – to every part of the body. Ensuring a healthy heart is therefore vital.

What is CVD?

When too much pressure is put on our hearts we start to run into some issues – the general term for conditions affecting the heart is Cardiovascular Disease – better known as CVD. The exact cause of CVD is far from clear, with many factors increasing your chances of developing CVD. These risk factors can include, but are not limited to, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, being overweight or in many cases, can be hereditary.

It is important to note that Cardiovascular Disease is accountable for nearly half of all non-communicable disease (NCD) deaths, therefore making it the number one killer across the globe! Scary thought considering there are a whopping 17.3 million CVD related deaths per year – including stroke and heart disease. Understanding CVD in today’s society is more important than ever before, we need to know the truth about CVD and be able to decipher the facts from the fiction. Below you can see a few examples of common misconceptions regarding CVD and also some that are indeed true.

Only older men can get heart disease/CVD

False

Cardiovascular Disease can develop before birth

True

Exercising won’t help if you’re genetically predisposed to CVD

False

Low and middle-income countries are the most susceptible to CVD

True

It is estimated that by 2030 the number of deaths, due to CVD, will rise to an enormous 23 million globally! However, by raising awareness of the critical numbers and facts we can all help prevent CVD by making small, simple lifestyle changes.

Tips for a Healthy Heart

Using our “art into heart” graphic below, we decided to outline some of our Randox QC top tips for staying healthy! Why not try some of them and feel the effects of having a happy, healthy heart!

This World Heart Day, join us and many more around the world, to raise awareness for this great cause and unite together to “Share the Power”.


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