European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)
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In 2007 the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM formerly EFCC) was formed by the merger of FESCC (Forum of European Societies of Clinical Chemistry) and EC4 (European Communities Confederation of Clinical Chemistry). EFLM connects National Societies of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine and creates a platform for all specialists working in the field in Europe. The mission of EFLM is to 1) enhance patient care, 2) improve outcomes by promoting and improving the scientific, professional and clinical aspects of clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine and 3) to ensure effective representation of laboratory medicine both at European Union level and to other pan-European and subregional bodies. EFLM represents IFCC in Europe.
All member societies of IFCC in Europe may become members of EFLM. The President/Chair and one national representative of member societies form the General Assembly which is the main governing body of EFLM. The General Assembly of EFLM convenes at least once every two years. Non-IFCC societies may obtain provisional membership for three years, provided that they apply for IFCC membership in the meantime. The General Assembly can decide to accept as an Affiliate Member into the EFLM a national association of a European country or another organization active in the field of laboratory medicine which has applied for such status. EFLM is domiciled in Milan where its office is also maintained in collaboration with IFCC.
Current (Full) membership of EFLM comprises the national societies of the following 39 countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Ukraine (USCLD).
EFLM has 1 Affiliate Member: Ukraine (UCCLMU) and 1 Provisional Member: Kosovo.
The operational structure of EFLM consists of an Executive Board (EB) and currently five Committees (C) which conduct out their tasks via Working Groups (WG) and Task and Finish Groups (PG). Officers of the EB (president, past-president, president-elect, secretary, treasurer and two members-at-large) are elected by the General Assembly for 2-year terms. In the current EB the following countries are represented: Italy, United Kingdom, Norway, Croatia, The Netherlands, Poland and Czech Republic. Membership and corresponding membership in Cs, WGs and PGs is by application and open to nominations by national societies.
The main activities of EFLM relate to education, research, development of the profession, requirements for competence, quality and accreditation of laboratories, organisation of congresses, and publications. EFLM has five Committees:
• Science (C-S)
• Quality and Regulations (C-QR)
• Profession (C-P)
• Education and Training (C-ET)
• Communication (C-C)
EFLM's structure at the time of writing is shown in the Figure below. For updates, please visit the EFLM website (http://www.eflm.eu/)
The Communication Committee (C-C) is responsible for efficient communication channels between EFLM and its member societies and other professional institutions, individuals and other targeted audience.via EFLM's website (www.eflm.eu) and EFLM Newsletter. The official scientific journal of EFLM is Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM).
The Science Committee (C-S) focuses on promotion of research that translates the scientific results of laboratory medicine to clinical applications and improves patient outcomes through the appropriate use and interpretation of laboratory data in clinical practice. The Committee currently has WGs on:
•Cardiac Markers (WG-CM) which investigates, via European surveys, how the reporting, interpretation and use of cardiac markers impact on patient outcomes in different countries.
• Biological Variation (WG-BV) which explores the sources of variation in and develops a critical appraisal checklist for papers on biological variation.
• Guidelines (WG-G) for the laboratory investigation and management of various conditions based on best practice.
• Test Evaluation (WG-TE) which sets standards and develops practical tools for designing research studies for the evaluation of the clinical value and impact of new biomarkers.
• Postanalytical Phase (WG-POST) which carries out international surveys amongst general practitioners and investigates how doctors use and interpret laboratory tests commonly used for managing patients in primary care.
• Preanalytical Phase (WG-PRE) which aims to promote the importance of the quality of the preanalytical phase of laboratory medicine by carrying questionnaires for assessing the current practices related to some pre-analytical variables and defining the best practices for some critical activities in the preanalytical phase.
• Harmonisation of Total Testing Process (WG-H) aims to act as a collector of the harmonization initiatives arising from other WGs or Task and Finish Groups of EFLM and from National Member Societies active in the field and will disseminate them to all the EFLM Member Societies attempting to monitor their application and effects.
• Patient Focused Laboratory Medicine (WG-PFLM) aims to evaluate and study methods for how specialists in laboratory medicine can communicate directly with the patients and how the laboratory can play an active role in patients using self-monitoring for monitoring their disease.
• Personalized Laboratory Medicine (WG-PLM) aims to develop papers on potentials and limits of the most recent laboratory technologies applied in personalized medicine
The Quality and Regulations Committee (C-QR) supports the establishment of effective accreditation schemes and quality management systems in all European countries and liaises with ISO, CEN and the European Accreditation body (EA). The Committee currently has two WGs on:
• Accreditation and ISO/CEN (WG- WG-A/IS), which represents EFLM in EA, ISO TC212 and CEN TC140. The WG focuses on influencing ISO/CEN standards and harmonisation of accreditation by international surveys, education and training of assessors related to specific professional standards of ISO 15189 and on setting European procedures for accreditation according to the flexible scope.
• IVD Directive (WG-IVD), focusing on the provision of guidelines and guidance documents for the application of the Directive in laboratory practice and during accreditation of laboratories.
The Education and Training Committee (C-ET) has general responsibility for the postgraduate training aspects of the work of EFLM, in liaison with the Congress and Conferences Division and the Education and Management Division of IFCC, and also with UEMS. The Committee organizes regional and sub-regional conferences, workshops and postgraduate continuing education courses in association with relevant national societies. The Committee operates two WGs:
• Congresses and Postgraduate Education (WG-CPE),which is involved in the organization of EFLM-UEMS European Joint Congress, Euromedlab, in collaboration with IFCC; joint European conferences with national societies and sub-regional organizations, such as the annual EFLM Symposium for the Balkan region. It is also responsible for organizing the annual EFLM Continuous Postgraduate Course and other educational and scientific events.
• Distance education and e-learning (WG-DE), which aims to establish and maintain efficient distance learning channels between EFLM and its member societies in education within the field of clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine;.
The Professional Committee (C-P) is responsible for matters of professional regulation and certification (via the EC4 EurClinChem Register), and the promotion of the profession in Europe at government level, and to patients and clinical users. It liaises with CEPLIS (European Council of the Liberal Professions) and the European Commission on professional matters, and takes the lead in developing pan-European professional and ethical standards. It also liaises with UEMS (The European Union of Medical Specialists) on the roles and responsibilities of medical and scientific practitioners of the discipline. The Committee currently has a permanent Working Group, the EC4 Register Commission. This group manages the (EC4) Register of European Specialists in Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine to achieve recognition of professional qualifications under European Union legislation, based on the principles of free movement of professionals within Europe. The EC4 Register and its finances are independently handled by the EC4 Foundation, a charitable Trust based in The Netherlands.
EFLM has three awards:
• The EFLM-Roche Scientific Award for Laboratory Medicine is awarded every two years to honour an individual from an EFLM member country who has made unique contributions to the promotion and understanding of clinical chemistry throughout Europe or who has made one or more contributions that have had a major impact on clinical chemistry. The Award consists of a certificate and the sum of 7,500 Euros.
• The EFLM-Abbott Award for Excellence in Outcomes Research in Laboratory Medicine is presented to the author(s) of the best published paper, as judged by an independent panel of experts, which demonstrates the relationship between the application of an in-vitro diagnostic test or testing strategy and clinical and/or economic outcomes. The award was presented for the first time at IFCC/EuroMedLab 2011 in Berlin and will thereafter be presented every two years at an EFLM conference. The Award consists of a certificate and the sum of 10,000 Euros.
• The EFLM-BD Walter Guder Preanalytical Award is addressed to young scientists under 40 years of age who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of the preanalytical phase. The award is given to the best study accepted for peer reviewed publication, where the nominee is the first author and a member of an EFLM member society. The award is financially supported by Becton Dickinson with an amount of 5,000 Euros.
EFLM collaborates with sub-regional professional organizations in the Balkan, Nordic and Alps-Adriatic region. A memorandum of understanding between EFLM and IFCC has formalized the relationship between the two Federations. EFLM has recently published its Corporate membership policy and is aiming to establish various models of collaboration with corporate partners from the IVD industry by setting up various projects that support the development of the profession in Europe.
Currently EFLM has formalized its collaboration with the following organizations:
AACC (American Association of Clinical Chemistry), AACB (Australasian Association of Clinical Biochemists), CEPLIS (European Council of the Liberal Professions), EC (European Commission), EA (European co-operation for Accreditation), EAPM (European Alliance for Personalised Medicine), EAS (European Atherosclerosis Society), EASL (European Association for the Study of Liver), EDMA (European Diagnostic Manufacturers Association), EuPA (European Proteomics Association), EUCOMED (Medical Devices Industry), ISO-CEN, EPMA (European Ass. for Predictive, Preventive & Personalized Medicine), EQALM (External Quality Assurance Programmes in Laboratory Medicine), ESPT (European Society for Pharmacogenomics and Theranostics), UEMS (European Union of Medical Specialists).
EFLM intends to set up even wider collaboration with sister Federations in order to harmonize scientific, educational and professional efforts in a complementary fashion, so that laboratory and health care professionals enjoy the benefits of such a collaboration both in the Euro-region and worldwide.
Prof. Mauro Panteghini
Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences "Luigi Sacco"
University of Milano Medical School, Milan, Italy