Although discrepant laboratory results still pose considerable risk to patients and to pharmaceutical development, overall clinical laboratory performance has improved with time due to significant efforts from lab professionals, diagnostic partners, and regulatory and accrediting agencies. These efforts include multiple internal and external laboratory quality control and quality assurance (QC/QA) measures. Proficiency testing (PT), provided by multiple agencies and led by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), currently serves as the main external QC/QA tool. In addition to its regulatory and educational aspects and its value as an efficient tool to monitor overall laboratory performance, this article will highlight the potential and crucial uses of PT. These uses include raising awareness among health care professionals about the serious problem of discrepancies in lab results between different methodologies or platforms, monitoring improvements in global lab performance, and expansion of the educational capacity of PT to end users in patient management and clinical trials, helping laboratorians and other health care professionals to correctly interpret biomarker data from different platforms.
Keywords: proficiency test; laboratory performance; discrepant laboratory results; patient management; pharmaceutical trials; biomarkers
Journal Article. 4640 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Chemistry ; Business and Management
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