Verification of examination procedures in clinical laboratory for imprecision, trueness and diagnostic accuracy according to ISO 15189:2012: a pragmatic approach

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Abstract

Background

The International Standard ISO 15189 is recognized as a valuable guide in ensuring high quality clinical laboratory services and promoting the harmonization of accreditation programmes in laboratory medicine. Examination procedures must be verified in order to guarantee that their performance characteristics are congruent with the intended scope of the test. The aim of the present study was to propose a practice model for implementing procedures employed for the verification of validated examination procedures already used for at least 2 years in our laboratory, in agreement with the ISO 15189 requirement at the Section 5.5.1.2.

Methods

In order to identify the operative procedure to be used, approved documents were identified, together with the definition of performance characteristics to be evaluated for the different methods; the examination procedures used in laboratory were analyzed and checked for performance specifications reported by manufacturers. Then, operative flow charts were identified to compare the laboratory performance characteristics with those declared by manufacturers.

Results

The choice of performance characteristics for verification was based on approved documents used as guidance, and the specific purpose tests undertaken, a consideration being made of: imprecision and trueness for quantitative methods; diagnostic accuracy for qualitative methods; imprecision together with diagnostic accuracy for semi-quantitative methods.

Conclusions

The described approach, balancing technological possibilities, risks and costs and assuring the compliance of the fundamental component of result accuracy, appears promising as an easily applicable and flexible procedure helping laboratories to comply with the ISO 15189 requirements.

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