Defining a roadmap for harmonizing quality indicators in Laboratory Medicine: a consensus statement on behalf of the IFCC Working Group “Laboratory Error and Patient Safety” and EFLM Task and Finish Group “Performance specifications for the extra-analytical phases”

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Abstract

The improving quality of laboratory testing requires a deep understanding of the many vulnerable steps involved in the total examination process (TEP), along with the identification of a hierarchy of risks and challenges that need to be addressed. From this perspective, the Working Group “Laboratory Errors and Patient Safety” (WG-LEPS) of International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) is focusing its activity on implementation of an efficient tool for obtaining meaningful information on the risk of errors developing throughout the TEP, and for establishing reliable information about error frequencies and their distribution. More recently, the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM) has created the Task and Finish Group “Performance specifications for the extra-analytical phases” (TFG-PSEP) for defining performance specifications for extra-analytical phases. Both the IFCC and EFLM groups are working to provide laboratories with a system to evaluate their performances and recognize the critical aspects where improvement actions are needed. A Consensus Conference was organized in Padova, Italy, in 2016 in order to bring together all the experts and interested parties to achieve a consensus for effective harmonization of quality indicators (QIs). A general agreement was achieved and the main outcomes have been the release of a new version of model of quality indicators (MQI), the approval of a criterion for establishing performance specifications and the definition of the type of information that should be provided within the report to the clinical laboratories participating to the QIs project.

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