Contributed by Dr. Manole Cojocaru, RoEQALM, President. IFCC Nat. Repr. (Romania)
The 5th International Symposium on quality assurance in laboratory medicine was held under the auspices of the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences from May 12-14, 2006 in Bucharest, and attracted almost 200 participants. It has become the official meeting for laboratory scientists from all over world. The initiative is supported by Romanian Society for External Quality Assurance in Laboratory Medicine (RoEQALM), with participation of the Romanian Bureau of Metrology and the Romanian Accreditation Association (RENAR). Speaking at symposium RoEQALM, the President outlined the benefits of the collaboration and highlighted the need for more evidence-based information and "serious analysis". These last fifteen years have produced tremendous advances in laboratory medicine and we have much to do together.
It is always interesting to take a look at how good (or bad) we are at what we do. This year RoEQALM chose to look at "Traceability of test results and standardization in laboratory medicine; actual situation and perspective" the meeting provided a state-of-the art review of the latest concepts and technology in the field and presented the most recent advances in quality assurance. Each year, the program is carefully planned by the Scientific Committee to provide as complete coverage as possible of the latest developments in quality assurance.
In general, the focus was on: standardization in microbiology (Klaus Janitschke, Germany); traceability concept (Jaana Mantere, Germany); validation of analytical procedures (Jose M. Queralto, Spain); IFCC's traceability and standardization programme (Mathias M. Műller, Austria); quality specifications in coagulation testing (Andrea Griesmacher, Austria); good laboratories need good training (Gerard T. B. Sanders, The Netherlands); metrological traceability of IVD calibrators ( Teresa Batet, Spain); implementation of the concept of traceability (Lothar Siekmann, Germany); assay standardization and global harmonization of clinical chemistry through traceability (David A. Armbruster, USA) and; evaluation of uncertainty of measurement in routine medical laboratories (Claude Giroud, France). With regard to information activities in External Quality Assurance in Laboratory Medicine, of course, the symposium cannot cover the whole subject but tries at least to give a survey. I discussed standardization for quality assurance of anticardiolipin antibody testing by ELISA. The scientific sessions were very well attended.
The interest in clinical laboratory has increased enormously within the last years. My Romanian colleagues made a good impression about clinical laboratory medicine in Romania and its progress in the past decade. The symposium was a new step toward quality assurance in laboratory medicine. The exchange of information and the opportunity to discuss with people from all over the world helps to make our work tremendously exciting. RoEQALM is deeply indebted to many people who have worked together to achieve such a successful meeting. The International Symposium 2006 was truly outstanding, providing all the pre-requisites to attract at least the same number of participants next year. The friendship between the peoples of Romania and Europe may be further enhanced. It is hoped this small introduction will encourage you to join us in Romania in 2007. Furthermore, we hope to have further collaboration with experts from around the world.