QC Material Stability – Dig a Little Deeper
QC Material Stability
Stability has a number of different definitions, however, the most relevant to clinical diagnostics, and indeed quality control sera, is the “resistance to chemical change or physical disintegration”. Much like a chain, your quality control system is only as strong as its weakest link, or in this case analyte.
Whilst we appear to be stating the obvious here, this might not be as straightforward as it first appears. The product literature you peruse will help you decide what control best suits your needs, whilst many companies will state their control stability in the literature there are some instances where all may not be as it first appears. It is also important to note that some manufacturers may not make stability claims for some of the analytes listed in their control material. In such instances, you are required to validate these in-house, taking up precious time and resources.
Dig a Little Deeper
Whilst we understand that some analytes do have limitations due to their inherent nature, misleading analyte claims can cost the laboratory both time and money. In a recent survey conducted by Randox, 65.5% of respondents indicated that they felt stability was a ‘Very Important’ QC feature. As such it’s important that you look beyond the sales literature when it comes to control stability. Look out for exceptions in the small print of the control kit inserts. For example, if a control has a stability claim of 7 days at 2-8oC and a routine analyte like Cholesterol has a stability claim of just 2 days at 2-8oC then the true stability of the control is only 2 days. In such instances, there is a lot of potential for waste, as laboratories will be required to prepare a new vial of QC material every 2 days leading to increased costs and time. However, if you dig a little deeper into the controls and always read the small print, you could avoid such issues.
How can Randox Acusera benefit you?
For more than 30 years Randox has been shaping the future of clinical diagnostics with our pioneering high quality, cost effective laboratory solutions. Quality Control is our passion, we believe in producing high-quality material that can help streamline procedures, whilst saving money for laboratories of all sizes and budgets. We pride ourselves in not misleading our customers with false stability claims for our controls. With controls such as our Liquid Cardiac and Specific Proteins Controls, you could benefit from a 30-day open vial stability for all analytes, without exception.
By employing our Randox Acusera quality control materials you could benefit from;
Commutable controls, ensuring a matrix that reacts to the test system in the same manner as a patient sample, enabling an accurate and reliable assessment of instrument performance.
Accurate target values that won’t shift throughout the shelf life of the controls, eliminating the need to spend valuable time and money assigning values in-house.
Consolidation of test menu with controls comprising up to 100 analytes, reducing preparation time and storage space required.
Analytes present at clinically relevant levels ensuring accurate test system performance across the clinical range, maximising laboratory efficiency by eliminating the need to purchase additional high or low-level controls at extra expense.
True third party controls designed to provide an unbiased assessment of performance, our Acusera controls have not been manufactured in line with or optimised for use with any particular reagent, method or instrument.
For more information on any of our products, or to request a consultation from one of our QC Consultants, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Measurement Uncertainty (MU) relates to the margin of doubt that exists for the result of any measurement, as well as how significant the doubt is. For example, a piece of string may measure 20 cm plus or minus 1 cm, at the 95% confidence level. As a result, this could be written: 20 cm ±1 cm, with a confidence of 95%. Therefore, we are 95% sure that the piece of string is between 19 cm and 21 cm long.
Standards such as ISO 15189 require that the laboratory must determine uncertainty for each test. However, they have not specified how this should be done.
How do we calculate Measurement Uncertainty using QC data?
Employing your QC data to calculate uncertainty makes several assumptions; your test system is under control, the patient samples are treated in the same manner as your controls and gross outliers have been removed. If you choose to use your QC data to calculate this you should ensure that you use a commutable control with a matrix similar to that of a patient sample, with analytes present at clinically relevant levels
To calculate MU, labs must look at the intra-assay precision and inter-assay precision of their test.
Intra-assay precision: Sometimes known as ‘within run’ precision, is where 20 or more replicates of the same sample are run at the same time, under the same conditions (calculated from a single experiment). Intra-assay precision helps to assess systematic uncertainties
Inter-assay precision: Sometimes known as ‘between run’ precision, is where 20 or more replicates are run at different times – e.g. 1 replicate every day for 20 days (can be calculated from routine IQC data). Inter-assay precision can help identify random uncertainties within the test system.
*The Australian Association of Clinical Biochemists (AACB) recommends that at least 6 months’ worth of QC data are used when calculating the inter-assay precision1.
Once the data is collected, you must calculate the standard error of the mean (SEM) of the intra-assay precision (A) and the SD of the inter-assay precision (B) in order to measure the uncertainty (u). Once A and B have been calculated, they need to be squared, added together and the square root of the sum found:
As uncertainty is calculated as SD and 1SD is equal to 68% confidence on a standard Gaussian curve, we can conclude that if we multiply using a coverage factor of 2, we can attain 2SD confidence of 95%. This is known as the Expanded Uncertainty (U):
What is the Advantage of Measurement Uncertainty for a lab?
Labs need to carry out MU as it is a requirement of ISO 15189. It states: “The laboratory shall determine measurement uncertainty for each measurement procedure, in the examination phases used to report measured quantity values on patients’ samples. The laboratory shall define the performance requirements for the measurement uncertainty of each measurement procedure and regularly review estimates of measurement uncertainty”.
MU also helps determine whether the difference between two results is negligible due to uncertainty or significant due to a genuine change in condition of the patient; giving labs a greater confidence in reported results.
How can Randox help?
Our new Acusera 24.7 Live Online software provides automatic calculation of MU, saving valuable time and helping labs meet ISO 15189 requirements with ease.
Contact email@example.com to find out how your lab can benefit from Acusera 24.7 Live Online
According to the NHS Litigation Authority; in 2015 within the UK alone, £193,680,744.30 was spent on ‘wrong diagnosis’ or ‘failed/delayed diagnosis’ causing huge financial strain and impact on labs.
With approximately 75% of clinical decisions and diagnosis based on laboratory test results. The only way to guarantee a high degree of accuracy is to implement a good Quality Control plan. The importance of this is recognised globally, several bodies exist internationally including ISO (International organisation for standardisation) who have developed a set of guidelines and quality systems to ensure the reliability of laboratory test results.
So what can you do to improve accuracy and reliability?
Choose a third party QC
ISO 151589:2012 Section 188.8.131.52 states that “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”.
First Party Controls are those manufactured by the instrument/reagent manufacturer. These controls are optimised specifically for use with the manufacturers test system and therefore will mask a multitude of weaknesses. First Party Controls tend to result in perceived accuracy and a biased assessment of performance.
Third Party Controls on the other hand are designed to be completely independent and are not optimised for use with a specific test or system. Leading manufacturers of third party controls will assign target values based on data collected from thousands of independent laboratories, ensuring the availability of statistically robust multi-method, multi-analyser data. Therefore laboratories using Third Party Controls can be assured of unbiased error detection across multiple platforms.
Randox Acusera is a world leading manufacturer of true third party controls providing a cost effective, high quality solution for any laboratory-regardless of size or budget.
Look out for QC samples with clinically relevant concentrations
ISO 15189:2012 states that ‘The laboratory should choose concentrations of control materials wherever possible, especially at or near clinical decision values, which ensure the validity of decisions made’.
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. In order to make sure a laboratory instrument is performing accurately across the full clinical range and in particular at the medical decision level, QC materials that cover low, normal and elevated concentrations should be used.
Due to the superior manufacturing process used by Randox, QC target values consistently cover the MDL of tests. By ensuring the controls in use cover clinical decision levels laboratories can be confident of the reliability and accuracy of the patient results they release.
Opt for a commutable control material
A good QC material has many essential properties but above all, controls must perform consistently and reflect the performance of patient samples – if a control meets these requirements then we can say it is commutable. Having a commutable control would aid in the prevention of incorrect patient results because they replicate the performance of a patient sample and react to the test system in a similar manner. Use of a commutable control will also reduce costly shifts in QC target values when reagent batch is changed.
At Randox we take quality seriously, that’s why all QC products are manufactured to the highest possible standard, delivering controls of unrivalled quality. Designed to be commutable, the Acusera range will ensure accurate and reliable instrument performance while simultaneously helping laboratories to meet ISO 15189:2012 requirements. A good QC process will include the use of Third Party Controls, Clinically Relevant Concentrations and controls which can be described as commutable. By employing Quality Control’s that encompass these traits, a laboratory professional can be certain that they have taken the necessary steps to decrease incorrect results and therefore potential misdiagnosis.
Al-i-quot: An amount that is an exact divisor of the whole quantity of a substance (Collins Dictionary of Medicine, R. Young, 2005).
Why aliquot QC material?
Aliquoting QC material can extend the open vial stability of a lyophilised control, according to manufacturer recommendations. By splitting your QC material into a number of tubes and freezing these you can extend the working stability of the control, ultimately reducing wastage and the amount of money spent on unnecessary additional controls.
A laboratory purchases a lyophilised QC with a volume of 3ml once reconstituted the control is stable for 7 days at 2-8oC. However, the laboratory only uses 1ml of this control per week, meaning that 2ml could potentially be wasted. The manufacturer states that the control can be frozen after reconstitution, extending the working stability from 7 days at 2-8oC to 30 days at -20 oC to -80oC. The following outlines the process for aliquoting reconstituted material and extending the control’s working stability.
Aliquoting reconstituted material
- Reconstitute the QC material according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Using a micropipette aliquot the required volume (generally a minimum of 0.5ml should be used) of reconstituted material into a tube.
- Repeat step 2 until all the reconstituted material has been aliquoted.
- Label each tube with the date the material was reconstituted to avoid the use of expired material.
- Store each aliquot at -20oC in a frost free freezer. Be sure to check the kit insert for frozen stability claims.
- Remove and thaw each aliquot as and when required making sure to use all material within the frozen stability period.
- Once thawed do not refreeze, dispose of any leftover QC material.
Aliquoting reconstituted material is an ideal way of extending the control’s open vial stability. This will ensure that your laboratory minimises the amount of QC material wasted and saves money by eliminating the need to purchase additional controls. Please note that not all lyophilised controls can be frozen like this. To ensure the controls you are selecting are suitable for aliquoting check the product’s kit insert or contact your supplier.
What can Randox Quality Control offer?
We have a number of lyophilised controls which can be prepared and stored in this way across our extensive product portfolio. To find out more visit www.randoxqc.com or contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a visit from one of our QC Consultants.
Drive for more accurate results in your laboratory
We’ve all been there, you’re in the middle of a run of patient tests when you are alerted to an out of control event, such as your analyser is reporting QC results 25% low to target. What do you do? In reality, we all know that the problem is unlikely to correct itself, especially if it’s a calibration or analyser issue. Human error is a potential factor, however all possible causes must be eliminated to proceed with patient testing.
What’s the solution?
ISO 15189:2012 recommends that a laboratory should “have a procedure to prevent patient results in the event of a quality control failure”. Implementing an interlaboratory data management program which features peer group reporting can help you meet this requirement and monitor the results you are producing. Such programs can help detect errors in the analytical phase of patient testing, through the automatic application of pre-programmed QC rules, thus alerting staff to failed results.
Why must Peer Groups be a feature?
A peer group is defined as a “Community in which most or all members have roughly the same characteristics…” (Businessdictionary.com, accessed 2017). In this instance the characteristics could refer to the; instrument, test method or QC material in use. As such peer group programmes could help you detect errors in your laboratory by comparing your results to those who are employing a similar method, instrument and QC to what you are using, i.e. comparing apples for apples. Therefore it is essential that the peer group data you require is available in real-time, to ensure you are accessing the most up-to-date data when reviewing your patient test results.
Take the example from the introduction. You’re in the middle of a run of patient tests when you are alerted to an out of control event, such as your analyser is reporting QC results 25% low to target. As part of your troubleshooting procedures, you are able to compare your results to the results of your peer group and note that this is an isolated incident. Consequently, you have eliminated a widespread problem with the QC, reagent or calibrator and narrowed down the root cause to one of the components in your test system. Thus saving you time in the troubleshooting process.
Benefits of Peer Group Comparison
There are a number of benefits to employing peer group comparison in your laboratory. Peer group data comparisons facilitate faster troubleshooting, helping you identify whether the problem you are seeing is unique to your laboratory, or if other laboratories are reporting the same issue. If other laboratories are reporting the same issue it is possible to conclude that there is a widespread problem with either the QC, reagent or calibrator. On the other hand, if it is not occurring within your peer group you will have to investigate further, reviewing your QC processes. As a result, you could resolve issues much quicker by eliminating either a supplier or laboratory issue. Furthermore, you can also eliminate the need for unnecessary repeat tests or instrument maintenance, saving both valuable time and money.
Other characteristics you should look out for
Whilst peer group comparison is a useful feature there are a number of other features you should consider when selecting the right interlaboratory data management program for you. These include;
- Automatic calculation of Measurement Uncertainty, Total Error and Sigma Metrics
- Multiple laboratory management on a single platform
- Accessing data anytime, anywhere via PC, laptop or tablet via a web-based platform
- All data charts you may require to assess whether any bias or imprecision issues are present
- Ability to combine data for multiple QC lots, analytes and instruments on a single Levey-Jennings or Histogram chart
- Automated data import via a direct connection to your LIMS
What can Randox offer?
At Randox we are passionate about quality control and believe in producing high-quality material that can streamline procedures for laboratories of all sizes and budgets through our Randox Quality Control brand. Acusera 24.7 Live Online is just one aspect of our extensive laboratory portfolio that has been designed to help you produce results you can trust. With Acusera 24.7 Live Online you can drive for more accurate results by monitoring and interpreting QC data online, anytime, anywhere. With access to an impressive range of features, including the automatic calculation of Measurement Uncertainty, Total Error and Sigma Metrics, Acusera 24.7 will ensure analytical quality.
Reviewing QC data can be an extremely time consuming and costly process. With manual statistical calculation laboratories risk missing or ignoring significant trends in QC data which could potentially put patients at risk. So how does a laboratory combat this? Simple; participate in an interlaboratory data management program that provides a quick, effective, accurate and detailed analysis of QC results. The answer to this program is Acusera 24•7 Live Online.
Acusera 24•7 Live Online
With the launch of Acusera 24•7 Live Online version 2.0, QC data review is now faster and simpler than ever before. Our program aims to save the laboratory precious time and money by instantly flagging any QC failures, ultimately ensuring accurate test system performance.
Designed to complement and be used primarily with our Acusera range of true third party controls, Acusera 24•7 Live Online has two primary functions; 1) management and interpretation of IQC data and 2) rapid and effective troubleshooting of QC failures via access to instantly updated worldwide peer group statistics.
These two functions have one common goal – being an effective tool for evaluating laboratory performance. With the launch of version 2.0 the software boasts even more functionality than before, ensuring any laboratory employing Randox Quality Control coupled with Acusera 24•7 Live Online will see benefits from the get-go.
Why should you use Acusera 24•7 Live Online?
Using Acusera 24•7 to help speed up the review process in your laboratory can reap dividends. The program has been designed for this specific reason and the features are geared towards helping the laboratory review, interpret, and analyse QC data quickly, effectively and accurately. One such example of this is the unique dashboard function which instantly flags any alerted or rejected results from the past 7 days, significantly reducing the time spent analysing reports and charts whilst simultaneously allowing any corrective action to be taken immediately with minimum disruption to the lab’s output.
Previously, peer group statistics would have been updated every 24 hours with Acusera 24•7 Live Online version 1.6, however, with the new release, peer data is about to get a unique upgrade. Gone are the days when you will have to wait 24 hours to get updated stats – Acusera 24•7 Live Online now has the ability to generate peer data live in real-time, thereby enhancing the laboratory’s troubleshooting capabilities and allowing labs to compare their data with others around the globe. What’s more there is no deadline for submission of results meaning labs can get a true reflection of performance at any time. Ultimately, laboratories will be able to easily identify if an issue is unique to them or a widespread issue amongst their peers. Such information will allow them establish a root cause quicker and spend less time troubleshooting.
The capacity to generate interactive charts and comprehensive reports automatically is a feature included in Acusera 24•7 that will aid quick review of QC data. Reports can be generated for a user-defined date range and provide a wealth of information. Reports include statistical analysis, statistical metrics, measurement uncertainty, exception and audit trail reports. Reports coupled with Levey-Jennings, Histogram and Performance Summary charts enable rapid and stress-free performance monitoring. The ability to add multiple instruments, QC lots and analytes to a single chart allows for comparative performance assessment and immediate identification of any trends.
We must not forget that Acusera 24•7 Live Online has already had a modernisation in the past few months. In November 2016 we announced the automatic calculation of Measurement of Uncertainty, Total Error and Sigma Metrics. These new features are also included in the version 2.0 launch of our Live Online program.
Our software is highly flexible with custom configurations of performance limits, multi-rules and target values designed to meet and exceed every laboratory’s needs.
With the ability to identify trends, system errors, minimise false rejections and bridge the gap between IQC and EQA, there really is no reason to look elsewhere for your analytical performance of QC.
For more information on Acusera 24•7 Live Online or our Acusera third party controls, click here.
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.
Six Sigma is a method of process improvement which focuses on minimizing variability in process outputs. The Six Sigma model was developed by Motorola in 1986, and Motorola have reportedly saved over $17 Billion due to its successful implementation.
The model looks at the number of standard deviations (SD) or ‘sigmas’ that fit within the quality specifications of the process. In the laboratory, the quality specifications relate to the Total Allowable Error (TEa). The higher the number of standard deviations that fit between these limits, the higher the sigma score and the more robust the process or method is. As sources of error or variation are removed from a process, the SD becomes smaller and therefore the number of deviations that can fit between the allowable limits is greater; ultimately resulting in a higher sigma score.
A process with a sigma score of six is considered to be a high quality process, making six the target for many industries including the clinical laboratory.
In order to achieve Six Sigma, a process must not produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. In a Laboratory context, this would equate to 3.4 failed QC results per million QC runs.
Sigma is calculated using the following equation:
Sigma = (TEa – %Bias) / %CV
TEa – Total Allowable Error
%Bias – Deviation from the target or peer group mean
%CV – Imprecision of the data
Why is Six Sigma useful in the laboratory?
Six Sigma can be used to help answer one of the most commonly asked questions in laboratory quality control. How often should I run QC?
The Six Sigma model allows laboratories to evaluate the effectiveness of their current QC processes. Its most common use is to help implement a risk-based approach to QC, where an optimum QC frequency and multi-rule procedure can be based on the sigma score of the test in question. The performance of tests or methods with a high sigma score of six or more may be evaluated with one QC run (of each level) and a single 1:3s warning rule. On the other hand, tests or methods with a lower sigma score should be evaluated more frequently with multiple levels of QC and a multi-rule strategy designed to increase identification of errors and reduce false rejections.
The below table shows how multi-rules and QC frequency can be applied according to Sigma Metrics:
|Sigma Score||QC Frequency||Number of QC Samples||QC Rules|
|6 or more||Once per day||Each level of QC||1:3s|
|5||Once per day||Each level of QC||Multi-rule strategy|
|4||At least twice per day||Each level of QC||Multi-rule strategy|
|< 4||At least four times per day||Each level of QC||Multi-rule strategy|
It is important to note that this is just an example and it may be necessary to run QC samples more often than three times per day. Some high throughput laboratories prefer to run QC samples before and after a set number of patient samples, while others opt to run QC samples after a set period of time. Whatever frequency you choose it is vital that the frequency is appropriate for the test in use. Download our guide ‘How often is right for QC’ to find out more.
What can Randox offer?
Randox’s Acusera 24.7 Live Online is a peer group reporting software application designed to complement the Acusera QC range. The intuitive and user-friendly software boasts some of the most advanced features on the market, and Version 1.6 provides automatic calculation of sigma scores for individual assays, giving the user an at-a-glance overview of assay performance.
Peer group reporting software is an integral part of any modern laboratory seeking to streamline their QC processes and reduce costs. With Acusera 24.7 Live Online, there has never been a better time to implement, save and succeed.
Contact us today to find out how Randox can help your laboratory achieve its goals.
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.
Point-of-Care Testing (POCT)
The Point-of-Care testing market, better known as POCT, is growing rapidly as the demand for faster patient testing increases. This point is fully backed up through the results of the recent BIVDA (British IN-Vitro Diagnostics Association) survey of 2016. This survey focuses primarily on Point-of-Care Testing and there were a few questions asked that sparked an interest amongst us. The questions can be seen below;
“What are the challenges you face regarding POCT?”
“What do you see in the future for POCT?” (BIVDA, 2016)
Although many answers were put forward there was one (answer) that appeared for both questions. Accreditation. We found this intriguing yet far from surprising. POCT and accreditation go hand-in-hand, with laboratories striving to achieve ISO accreditation with the ultimate aim of allowing patients to have peace of mind that they are being tested properly and effectively.
The ISO standard that relates to POCT is ISO 22870:2006 Point of Care Testing- Requirements for quality and competence. This standard gives specific requirements applicable to POCT testing and apply when POCT is carried out in a hospital, clinic or a healthcare organisation providing ambulatory care. However, it is important to note and remember that ISO 22870 is not to be seen as a separate, standalone document, in fact, it is to be used in conjunction with ISO 15189:2012 (medical laboratories – particular requirements for quality & competence).
With accreditation in POCT becoming a major factor to laboratories, it is no surprise to see accreditation as one of the top answers to the two questions asked in the survey.
For laboratories looking to participate in point-of-care testing there are other factors of ISO 22870 that they must be aware of, one of the major factors is as follows;
“ISO 22870:2006 advises that where available, Internal Quality Control and participation in an External Quality Assessment (EQA) scheme is required in the point-of-care setting.”
How can Randox help?
Fortunately for laboratories, Randox are able to help out here. With a vast range of true third party controls and 32 comprehensive RIQAS (EQA) programmes, Randox can aid laboratories as they aim for ISO accreditation.
We have multiple products particularly suited to the POCT market including, Liquid Cardiac, Blood Gas and Urinalysis. These products are available both as internal quality controls and as EQA programmes.
Our Acusera range of true third party controls are conveniently supplied liquid ready-to-use, therefore requiring no preparation. This is a particular advantage in the POC environment were test results are required quickly and also were testing is not always performed by laboratory personnel. Supplied with assayed target values and manufactured from 100% human material, ensuring they act in the same manner as a patient sample, our Acusera controls are ideal for use at the point of care and will therefore aid a laboratory in gaining ISO accreditation.
Similarly, participation in our RIQAS EQA programme will also assist laboratories to meet regulatory requirements and achieve ISO accreditation. With over 40,000 laboratory participants in 123 countries, RIQAS is the largest international EQA scheme worldwide! Our Liquid Cardiac, Blood Gas and Urinalysis programmes are all supplied liquid ready-to-use, complementing their Acusera counterparts perfectly!
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