Is your lab using reference standards when performing testing? We’ve found that not all labs do this—in fact, we tested against one lab recently that was not using a reference standard with their FIP Lipase method. What a mistake! Without a reference standard, how do you know if your method is working appropriately and providing accurate results for the unknown sample? You don’t! Purchasing reference standards and performing proficiency testing gives a lab credibility and is an investment in quality—which as a testing customer, you should expect.
Another big mistake is not using positive and negative controls when performing microbiology We have spoken to several labs that do not test each method using a negative control, which is compared to a positive control test. While these microbiology quality control pellets are expensive, they are highly beneficial for accurate results—it’s unfortunate that some labs do not fully understand the benefit. SORA performs a positive and a negative control test with each microbiology method daily. These test results prove that our method is working that day.
Throughout the year SORA participates in microbiology and chemistry proficiency testing studies. We perform various methods on identical samples, testing against other labs or peer groups. These results are statistically calculated to determine our proficiency with the method tested. Proficiency testing builds confidence with the lab technicians and customers and demonstrates that the method is being performed accurately. Is your testing lab doing this?
And while this is just a couple of ways a testing laboratory can invest in quality control, these steps pave the way for accurate results. There’s a reason that some labs charge unusually low prices—and it’s a good idea to ask questions before purchasing services that may not provide you with the most accurate results. Ask about reference standards, microbiology controls and proficiency Are they actually spending the time and money required to give accurate results? If not, go elsewhere! “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking”—Henry Ford.