What does inter-lab study mean?
Quality in process and reporting is the ultimate goal for every diagnostic brand as it is an accreditation need as well as the map to chart medical recommendations. While certifications like ISO, NABL and CAP ensure quality control processes and outcomes are closely monitored through various means, the vastness of pathology or clinical testing segment leads to addition of many tests and technologies not covered under the standard proficiency testing (PT) norms.
Proficiency testing is crucial to validate;
- Laboratory analysis and measurement process
- Adequate training of the personnel
- Extent of uncertainty
Technically all PT are inter-lab testing organized and managed by an independent third party while a pure inter-lab comparison does not have a coordinating agency. Though the objectives are similar the way their work is slightly different.
An inter-laboratory study does not have a reference laboratory or a central coordinating agency and the participating laboratories compare and evaluate test results only with and between other participating members. It basically involves organizing and evaluating the performance of tests (same or similar) by a minimum of two or more labs under predetermined conditions.
Why inter-lab testing?
- To establish a degree of equivalence between laboratories
- To improvise or standardize process and methods of testing
- A big indicator of competency
- To assign certified values to reference materials; ascertain uncertainty
- To identify problematic areas and shortcomings as a means to improvise on
Inter lab testing’s crucial to ascertain the ability of laboratories to deliver accurate testing reports. It aids in drawing universal standards in operation and testing. It demonstrates technical confidence to accrediting bodies as well as to the public and stake-holders.
“If confidence could be validated, inter-lab comparisons offer the stage for labs to prove the robustness of their operations”