The reliability of the test reports of a patient depends on Quality Control in the diagnostic laboratory. What exactly is this Quality Control? Don’t go by the infrastructure and location of a laboratory, for Quality Control is beyond that.
In our valley, people mostly think that the more you have to pay for the tests, the better the quality of the lab is. Usually, the impression among people is that private labs are far better than the government ones. Such people do not know that the government hospitals are equipped with the most advanced equipment and laboratory scientists.
What one has to first understand is what Quality Control does? It detects and then removes the internal analytical errors before issuing the report of the patient. Quality Control validates the results and minimises the errors that happen in the handling and processing of the specimen. It is run in the analyser or equipment with a new lot of reagents administered after calibration or when the test result seems inappropriate. Every clinical laboratory must employ Quality Control to minimise pre-analytical and analytical errors. Usually, Quality Control should be simple to use because complicated ones need reconstitution processes that could have chances of bringing inexplicable errors.
A clinical laboratory scientist is well aware of interpretations of Quality Control data that involves both graphical and statistical methods. The data of analytes are plotted along the X-axis and the control values are plotted along Y-axis. Quality control data is most easily visualised using a Levey-Jennings control chart.
In short, Quality Control runs are done in clinical lab instruments or analysers to rectify and remove errors. It gives true and reliable results that help the doctor in diagnosis and treatment of a disease.
The writer is a PhD researcher at Department of Clinical Biochemistry, SKIMS. [email protected]