IBMS and NIBSC webinar review
In November, the IBMS and the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) hosted a joint webinar on the use of quality control (QC) materials in diagnostic testing.
This webinar was entitled: Quality control materials: how best to use them, why they can improve your service, and what this means for your laboratory accreditation.
Over 70 delegates, including biomedical scientists, laboratory and quality managers and assay manufacturers joined the webinar to hear from NIBSC experts on topics like choosing and using QC materials and monitoring your data.
With the introduction of ISO15189, those working in the field are under increasing pressure to meet required QC standards. This event aimed to address these issues, sharing best practice around the use of QC materials with attendees and showcasing the value they could add to their service and laboratory accreditation.
Jennifer Sandle, Quality Assurance Officer at NIBSC kicked off the webinar by explaining how the appropriate use of QC materials can help to ensure compliance with the new ISO 15189 standard.
Attendees then received some ‘top tips’ from Clare Morris, a specialist in the development of international standards for use in clinical diagnosis, for selecting the most suitable quality control materials for their assays. She explained the differences in control materials, from QC materials to highest order calibrators and the format of the material itself, how they’re made and characterised.
Dr Rob Anderson then spoke about the use of QC materials, sharing real-life case studies highlighting the value of using external QC reagents in addition to kit controls. He said,
“QC material is here to assure your results to the clinician, it’s not trying to catch you out, just to help you get the best result possible.”
The final session presented by NIBSC scientist David Padley provided practical advice on monitoring QC data covering the use of Levey-Jennings charts and Westgard Rules, and what to look out for when analysing your data. He added,
“Levey-Jennings plots provide a graphical representation of the data and can indicate whether a lab test is performing consistently and correctly. Plotting your mean and standard deviation also makes it easy to see if runs are valid or invalid.”
The webinar closed with an interactive Q&A session that allowed delegates to pose their questions on topics such as the suitability of different control materials and issues with data monitoring to the speakers.
Clare Morris, a scientist at NIBSC commented:
“As global leaders in the production of standards and quality control materials, we were excited for the opportunity to share our knowledge with the scientists working hard to deliver diagnostic results on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, better QC processes will lead to more accurate and reliable diagnostic results and offer greater benefits for patients.”
IBMS Deputy Chief Executive Sarah May added:
“We regard this collaborative webinar with the NIBSC as a highly valuable opportunity to bring information and learning to our profession in an easily accessible manner.
The presentations provided important insights on quality control materials that will help all those who are working to ISO accreditation standards. It addressed the challenges faced by laboratory staff and provided the opportunity for discussion and engagement with experts.”
You can sign up for future NIBSC events by joining their mailing list. You can also keep up-to-date with IBMS organised events on our website.