Lab Processes and Procedures / Laboratory Quality Control / Randox News

Laboratory Technology- Inter-Laboratory Data Management

Laboratory Technology-  Inter-Laboratory Data ManagementExternal Quality Assessment (EQA) is performed to provide clinical laboratories with a means to retrospectively assess analytical performance. Acceptable EQA performance on the day of analysis, however, will not guarantee the accuracy and reliability of laboratory test results. Furthermore, EQA is often performed once per month or even less frequently. Thus, laboratories may not be aware of gradual or sudden changes in their test system caused by reagent/calibrator reformulations, standardization changes or instrument software changes. How, then, is performance assessed between EQA surveys?

Bridging the Gap

Inter-laboratory data management or peer group reporting may be the solution. In most cases, inter-laboratory data management is a piece of software designed to help interpret internal QC data and monitor performance with the overall objective of improving laboratory quality. Unlike EQA, internal quality controls are tested on a daily basis. Participation in an inter-laboratory program, in addition to routine quality control procedures, will help to control performance between EQA samples, improving EQA performance as well as the accuracy and reliability of patient test results.

Through access to comprehensive charts, detailed reports and statistically relevant peer group data generated from thousands of independent laboratories worldwide, laboratories can quickly and easily identify trends, system errors and reagent issues, minimizing expensive repeat tests and the need for unnecessary troubleshooting.

Although not always a requirement, the use of an effective inter-laboratory data management program in addition to EQA and IQC is encouraged by ISO, CLSI and other accrediting bodies.

A New Tool

Randox have recently launched a revolutionary new Web-based inter-laboratory data management program, Acusera 24.7 Live Online, designed to complement the Acusera range of true third party quality controls.

Acusera 24.7 Live Online will automatically analyze all quality control data and apply user defined QC multi-rules. The software will highlight any rejected results in red and alerted results in orange, allowing for easy identification. Each time a user logs into the software, they are presented with a unique dashboard displaying any unreviewed QC tests which have fallen outside performance limits in the past 7 days. This convenient and user-friendly function of the software allows quick and easy identification of any poor performing tests that requires further investigation. Such functions can even help laboratories meet ISO15189 accreditation requirements with respect to the statistical analysis of quality control data.

A unique feature of Acusera 24.7 is that peer group data is updated every 24 hours, allowing real time comparison of data from multiple instruments and laboratories. Rapid access to the most up-to-date information available aids the troubleshooting process and may even help identify issues before they arise.

The Web-based program eliminates the need for local installation, making it the perfect solution for affiliated laboratory groups and laboratory chains. In addition, the new system offers a wide range of tools to effectively monitor your laboratory’s performance.

Fully interactive Levey-Jennings and Histogram charts are generated automatically by the software and can be used to identify any trends or bias. The interactive nature allows users to zoom in and look in-depth at a specific time frame; the ability to combine multiple levels of control, multiple parameters and/or multiple instruments on one easy-to-interpret chart even allows users to determine if the same trends are seen with more than one control or parameter. Users can also add actions or comments enabling advanced data review.

A comprehensive range of detailed reports is also available allowing exceptional data analysis and review. The audit trail report records all events leading to the creation, modification and deletion of an electronic record and is useful for documenting the review process, helping laboratories to meet regulatory requirements. The peer group statistics report allows laboratories to view the statistics to which their results are compared. Additional reports include the exception report and laboratory comparison report, both of which are available on request and are ideal for managers responsible for multiple laboratory sites.

QC data can be uploaded to Acusera 24.7 Live Online in three ways — manually, semi-automated via the EDI function and fully-automated via an additional software solution, Acusera 24.7 Connect. The program can connect directly to the lab information system or middleware, facilitating the secure import of QC data. Automated import of data in this way eliminates problems associated with manual data entry and may help increase productivity and efficiency within the lab.

Lynsey Adams is Quality Management Solutions Marketing Executive at Randox Laboratories, United Kingdom

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