Basic QC Practices
There's a great temptation to lean on the means and ranges provided by the manufacturer. But the ease of using someone else's work can obscure when real errors are taking place.
A new study looks at the frequency of errors in laboratory processes across the Total Testing Process. The study covers error rates from 2009-2011 in the University Hospital of Padua, Italy. More than a decade ago, a study in an Italian laboratory declared the primacy of pre-analytical errors. Have labs improved significantly since then?
For over a decade, the prevailing wisdom has been that analytical errors rarely happen and that pre-analytical and post-analytical errors are more important. A 2011 study of 5 years of laboratory data calls this emphasis into question. Perhaps some errors are not more equal than others.
For more than a decade, the scientific literature has stressed the preeminence of pre-analytical error. Often these papers play a zero-sum game, emphasizing pre- and post-analytical quality while diminishing the importance of analytical quality. In this lesson, sources of errors for the pre-analytic and post-analytic phases of the Total Testing Process are discussed, along with possible solutions. Finally, the occurrence of these errors are rated on a Sigma-scale, to put pre-analytical problems into context with analytical performance. (Preview)