WHO External quality assessment (EQA) scheme for transfusion laboratory practice
To achieve continuous quality improvement, the effectiveness of all elements in the quality system should be assessed. Internal and external mechanisms of assessment can be used. Internal assessment can be achieved by the use of batch controls, staff competency testing and audits. However, in order to evaluate the whole process in a laboratory, external quality assessment (EQA) is required.
WHO EQA schemes have been established in the main areas of laboratory testing in transfusion laboratory practice:
- Blood group serology (this web site);
- Transfusion transmitted infections (Diagnostics and Laboratory Technology web site).
These EQA schemes assess the standard of laboratory testing in BTS and provide the data required as a starting point for improving standards.
In addition to individual performance monitoring of laboratories, the schemes provide information on overall trends in performance. This information gives an insight into common sources of errors in transfusion testing and the opportunity to take preventive and corrective action to improve the quality of laboratory testing in blood transfusion services.
The EQA schemes also provide a channel of communication for participants and a source of educational material.