Proficiency testing (PT) is an essential aspect of continuous quality improvement, as well as continuous compliance for lab accreditation. Repeat PT failures sometimes signal insufficient self-inspection or an inadequate systemic review process, and they put labs’ accreditation at risk.

An interactive afternoon short course at AACC's Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo on July 29,  Troubleshooting Clinical Laboratory Errors: A Collaborative Case Study (74216), developed in cooperation with the College of American Pathologists (CAP), will highlight ways labs can not only better identify their accreditation risks, but also improve their performance. The session also will give an overview of CAP’s alternative assessment-of-performance option to determine the reliability of tests for which PT is either not available or not required.

According to the session’s moderator and co-presenter, Brad Karon, MD, PhD, the speakers will explore strategies to avoid accreditation-threatening critical failures, like:

  • closely examining every PT event to detect bias, trends, and outliers;
  • ensuring that a robust system exists to train lab staff on any unusual specimen handling required for PT samples but not patient samples, and
  • developing a robust system to ensure that information necessary for PT surveys (but not patient samples), such as method or instrument codes, reagent codes, or units of measure, are consistently and accurately sent to the PT provider.

Karon, an associate professor of laboratory medicine and pathology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, chairs CAP’s Continuous Compliance Committee and is a member of the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation. Joining him will be Christina Wojewoda, MD, an assistant professor of pathology at the University of Vermont Medical Center, and Selwyn Baptist, MD, chair of the Department of Pathology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey.

Karon will focus on what labs can do to prevent critical PT failures, while Wojewoda will review best practices in alternative assessment of performance. Baptist expects to discuss how labs can improve the quality and value of laboratory self-inspection.

“We hope that attendees will come away with an understanding of the critical nature of PT testing and importance of investigating and correcting any issues causing unsatisfactory PT performance,” Karon told CLN Stat. “We also expect that they’ll be able to develop best practices to obtain the most information and best use of required elements of accreditation such as PT testing, alternative performance assessment, and the self-inspection.”

Register online to attend this session.