Advancing excellence in laboratory medicine for better healthcare worldwide

Task Force on Proficiency Testing (TF-PT)

Membership

Name Position Country Term Time in Office
A. Haliassos Chair GR 2nd 2017 01 - 2019 12
B. Aslan Member CA 2nd 2017 01 - 2019 12
A. Carobene Member IT 2nd 2017 01 - 2019 12
A. Perret-Liaudet Member FR 2nd 2017 01 - 2019 12
C. Weykamp Member NL 2nd 2017 01 - 2019 12
J. Dai Corp. Rep./Siemens US 2nd 2017 01 - 2019 12
M. Rottmann Corp. Rep./Roche DE 2nd 2017 01 - 2019 12

Aims

  • To facilitate the introduction of international proficiency testing schemes for uncommon but clinically important measurands.
  • To use the information to select measurands that may be suitable for method harmonization as a means to improving patient outcomes.

Objectives

  • To establish a small group of clinical and scientific experts who represent both suppliers and users of 'uncommon but clinically important' laboratory medicine methods.
  • To agree a definition of an 'uncommon but clinically important' measurand and the body of evidence that is required to meet that definition.
  • To write a specification for operating an international proficiency testing scheme.
  • To survey IFCC Members and IFCC functional units to receive suggestions for 'uncommon but clinically important' measurands.
  • To prioritize the suggestions received and to assess the potential for international proficiency testing and the likely support of manufacturers of available methods.
  • To establish the availability of proficiency testing schemes for the identified measurands. Where proficiency testing schemes exist to assess their potential for expansion at an international level. 
  • In the absence of suitable proficiency testing schemes to invite bids to provide measurand specific proficiency testing in accordance with the agreed specification.
  • To recommend to the Executive Board proficiency testing schemes that may be set up under the auspices of IFCC.
  • To monitor performance in IFCC supported proficiency testing schemes and to support the preparation of scientific publications at appropriate points in time.
  • To use performance data from IFCC supported proficiency testing schemes to propose measurands for harmonization in line with www.harmonization.net.

Background

IFCC has been recognized for his leading role and efforts towards the standardization of Clinical Laboratory methods. Many commercially available IVD tests acknowledge, in their inserts, the use of the IFCC methods. The work of the federation also led to new analytical approaches, that although recognized by the different regulating bodies there are not still unanimously accepted worldwide as with the HbA1c.

However, for the more recent tests, but also for some of the simplest and oldest assays where new calibration definitions are recently established form IFCC work and approved by the IVD industry, still harmonization of the results is far to be achieved. In order to resolve these issues AACC recently introduced the project of the harmonization of clinical laboratory test results.


The role of Proficiency Testing schemes (ex External Quality Control programs) is of primordial importance to the analytical quality, to the standardization of the methods and to the harmonization of the results, but there is a lack of interest from the commercial providers of such schemes, either for the more new and complex tests and for the very old and simple measurands that involve a new calibration curve, because of the very subtle problems induced at the interpretation of the statistical results of their, already well-established and running, schemes. Meanwhile, IFCC has already the resources and knowledge by the involvement of member societies running Proficiency Testing schemes as non-profit organizations, but also by the expertise of some of their distinguished scientists, as they have the know-how to design and produce the necessary novel control materials for specialized External Quality Control programs.


A multidisciplinary effort had assigned to the new Task Force on Proficiency Testing (TF-PT) involved in the analysis and the exploration of the above mentioned of Proficiency Testing issues. This could lead to the establishment of specialized schemes under the hospices and recommendations of the IFCC and could greatly enhance and help to the prevalence of the methods derived from the work of the federation and to the harmonization of laboratory results.

Achievements during 2013-2014

Achievements during 2013-2014 The TF-PT had his kick-off meeting during EuromedLab 2014 in Istanbul, in presence of the invited members of the C-AQ, afterward the members of the TF had private meetings during the annual meeting of AACC (July 2014 in Chicago) and with the board of EQALM in Toulouse at the end of October 2014 (during the EQALM meeting), in order to request a close cooperation and the participation of EQALM to the TF-PT.

Plans for 2015-2017

The central project of the TF-PT will be the creation of an online database - web application accessible via web browsers but also via specific applications for the major mobile platforms with much more functionalities and ease of use. The roots of this database will be the analytes (tests, measurands) that will be filed with all possible synonyms (one of them will be the "official" as proposed from the Nomenclature, Properties and Units (C-NPU) committee of the SD) as also as the methods (assays, instruments, reagents etc) also with all possible synonyms.
All register users can add any term in the database, although the application will propose similar ones if there are already filed, searching all the possible synonyms (according to the database of methods and analytes of the C-NPU), and if there is already filed they can "vote" expressing their desire for the introduction of a PT for this analyte.
Another part of the DB, maintained with the cooperation of C-AQ and of EQALM, will be the PT providers section containing all their contact information, their programs with the analytes, frequencies, type of statistics, commutability of control materials, their accreditation or certification status etc.
The database will be accessible for consultation freely to all visitors of IFCC site, but only registered users will have modification privileges. The registration of users will be by invitation from the NR and the CM, via the IFCC secretariat and from the EQALM. The registered users will have the possibility to invite more members via the application.
The access of this DB - application via the IFCC web site will allow the use of institutional computers, workstations and networks (at public laboratories, universities etc.), that are often blocking the access to similar open source platforms as doodle, election buddy etc., by their policies and their IT administrators, reaffirming the authority of the IFCC.In conclusion, this database will interactively link our colleagues, final users of the tests, with PT providers, IVD manufacturers, accreditation bodies etc. and will facilitate the search for a PT scheme for "rare" esoteric or new analytes, or the introduction of a new one if needed. Automated algorithms with well-defined thresholds will send request to appropriate PT providers, if an analyte has exceeded the limit of the required votes, and if a corresponding PT scheme will be implemented the analyte will be removed from the list and the new scheme will be registered care of TF-PT assigned members. IVD manufacturers want also to establish such PT schemes prior to the introduction of new assays (as for example, those concerning the personalized medicine and the companion diagnostics). Moreover, it can be used for the tasks of harmonization project of the AACC.

Cooperation:

1. The Task Force will work in close association with the IFCC Committee for Analytical Quality (C-AQ)
2. The Task Force will work in close association with the IFCC Committee Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (C-TLM)
3. The Task Force will work in close association with the IFCC Committee Nomenclature, Properties and Units (C-NPU)
4. The Task Force will liaise with the EQALM and other relevant international providers of proficiency testing in laboratory medicine

 

List of Corresponding Members, nominated by National Societies

Name Full and Affiliate Member Societies
Yi Ju Chinese Society of Laboratory Medicine (CSLM)
Tamar Stam Israel Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
Dalius Vitkus Lithuanian Society of Laboratory Medicine
Augusta C. Nsonwu-Anyanwu Association of Clinical Chemists Nigeria (ACCN)
Jan Balla Slovak Society of Clinical Biochemistry (SSKB)
Montserrat Ventura Sociedad Española de Bioquímica Clínica y Patología Molecular (SEQC)
Hemachandra Weerawarna Association for Clinical Biochemistry, Sri Lanka
Mehmet Senes Turkish Biochemical Society (TBS)

 

List of Corresponding Members, nominated by Corporate Members

Name Corporate members
Ji Lin ABBOTT Laboratories
Laura Vernoux FUJIREBIO Europe

 

 Chair

Dr. Alexander Haliassos
ESEAP - Greek Proficiency Testing Scheme for Clinical Laboratories
GSCC-CB
47 Alopekis Str
GR-106  76 Athens
Greece
email: haliassos@moleculardiagnostics.gr

Members

Berna Aslan
Associate Director, External Quality Assessment
QMP-LS/IQMH
393 University Avenue, Unit 1500
Toronto ON M5G 1E6
Canada
email: aslan_berna@hotmail.com

Anna Carobene
Standardization Laboratory in Clinical Chemistry
San Raffaele Hospital
Via Olgettina 60
20132 Milano
Italy
email: carobene.anna@hsr.it

Armand Perret-Liaudet
Directeur laboratoire des maladies à Prion et d'Alzheimer
Centre de Biologie et pathologie Est
Hôpitaux de Lyon
59, Bd Pinel 69500 Bron
France
email: armand.perret-liaudet@chu-lyon.fr

Cas W. Weykamp
Queen Beatrix Hospital
Clinical Chemistry
Beatrixpark 1
7101 BN Winterswijk
The Netherlands
email: c.w.weykamp@skbwinterswijk.nl 

Jian Dai
Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc.
Newark DE 19702
USA
email: j.dai@siemens.com

Michael Rottmann
Director, assay development Endocrinology
Thyroid, Sepsis, RA
Roche Diagnostics GmbH
Roche Professional Diagnostics
Nonnenwald, 2
82372 Penzberg
Germany
email: michael.rottmann@roche.com

 

 
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