Medical laboratories perform tests on clinical specimens in order to obtain information about the health of a patient for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases. Reliability of medical laboratories is paramount to the health and safety of the patients depending on these testing services. In Belgium, all medical laboratories for medical biology and anatomical pathology recognised by the Minister of Public Health must meet legal requirements and are obliged to participate in external quality evaluations. Sciensano is responsible for the practical organisation of the External Quality Assessment of medical laboratories for medical biology and anatomical pathology.
This External Quality Assessment (EQA) is mainly informative and is designed to evaluate the quality and homogeneity of laboratory results. Therefore, the participating laboratories receive a set of control samples for analysis. That way, the EQA allows a participating laboratory to assess their performance in comparison to its peers or to accuracy based reference systems. EQA never replaces the internal Quality Assessment and Management System of the laboratory.
Philippe Van de Walle for more information.