External quality assessment for patient safety

External quality assessment for patient safety

Quality assurance is essential for clinical laboratories. Many quality procedures are needed to assure qualified test results for patient safety.

Quality assurance consists of internal and external quality assessment (EQA). Labquality Ltd is a Finnish organization, which provides EQA programmes for all fields of laboratory medicine expertise and outside laboratories for point-of care testing (POCT). The most common POC tests are glucose and hemoglobin. Labquality offers 152 EQA schemes internationally.

All laboratory and point-of-care tests need EQA for continuous evaluation of performance. In most countries, participation in EQA is voluntary. For all accredited laboratories, external quality assessment is mandatory and some countries have decided to force laboratories to participate in EQA services.

It is important that students can learn about EQA during their studies. The Degree Programme in Biomedical Laboratory Science participates in some Labquality EQA services, which include clinical hematology, chemistry, cytology, microbiology and physiology tests, besides preanalytics.

An EQA round takes place as follows: 1) a customer orders services, 2) Labquality delivers specimens or other scheme-specific materials (e.g. scanned slides on the internet), 3) the customer analyzes the specimens according to the instructions, 4) the customer reports the result via the LabScala programme, 5) Labquality analyzes the results within 2–3 weeks and delivers an evaluation report. Every report includes statistics and expert comments.

Thus, the customer can improve procedures according to this feedback. Students participate in this EQA round to analyze specimens or other materials and to evaluate Labquality reports.


Caption: Quality assurance is an essential part of laboratory work. It is also studied in the Degree Programme in Biomedical Laboratory Science, says Eeva Liikanen, Head of Degree Programme in Biomedical Laboratory Science.


This article has been published in the TAMK.today online magazine. Read more stories!

Muokattu 29.03.2016