Proficiency testing (PT) is a valuable tool in the quality improvement process. PT provides one measure of objective evidence of laboratory competence to customers and regulatory and accreditation organizations. It serves as a unique source of information not obtainable by other methods. Current accreditation requirements include integration of PT into the laboratory’s quality improvement program.
Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute guideline QMS24—Using Proficiency Testing and Alternative Assessment to Improve Medical Laboratory Quality provides laboratories with a detailed description of important activities in the proficiency testing (PT) process and includes suggestions for how to improve this process from a quality management perspective. It includes a suggested classification of unacceptable PT results and specific examples of investigations of unacceptable results.
CLSI also offers a Proficiency Testing Solution Package. This comprehensive package provides information on continual improvement in your quality management system and detailed guidance on a solid proficiency testing program. Topics covered in this package correspond to CLSI QSE Continual Improvement and ISO 15189, section 4.12—Continual improvement.