Reliable quality indicators in the total testing process are of great importance to allow users to quantify the quality of laboratory services. Even though the analytical phase of laboratory testing is now most reliable than ever due to advances in the last few decades, a considerate amount of errors still occur in the pre- and post-analytical phases. Although efforts have been made in some countries to establish quality indicators of the extra-analytical phases, there is a lack of consensus and no universal quality indicators or common terminology exist for the total testing process. Such quality indicators must be patient-centered, consistent with the requirements of the International Standard for medical laboratories accreditation and include all the stages of the total testing process (including the pre and post-analytical steps that occur outside the laboratory).
This paper published in this month's issue of the Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine journal discusses the importance of harmonization of quality indicators in laboratory medicine and talks about how preliminary consensus has been achieved in a Consensus Conference organized in Italy last year. In this conference the model of quality indicators (MQI) developed by the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) was revised by experts from around the world and a consensually accepted list of quality indicators was produced, constituting an important step forward towards harmonization and improving quality and patient safety in laboratory medicine.
You can access the full article and the revised list of laboratory quality indicators here or download it by clicking in the link on the right.
To read a review that provides further insight on the topic of harmonization in laboratory medicine click here.