The attainment of quality service in a laboratory requires a comprehensive
Quality Assurance Programme which includes both Internal and External quality
control materiel. External Quality Assessment(EQA) programmes are accepted
around the world as invaluable tools by laboratories to asses the performance of
their testing systems. Results are objectively compared to other laboratories,
using the same methodologies for every parameter.
The Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Christian Medical College, Vellore
under the banner of The Association of Clinical Biochemists of India (ACBI) is
conducting an External Quality Assessment Scheme (EQAS) since 1978. The
Participants represents all the states of India and also Anadaman and Nepal. The
participating laboratories include teaching and non-teaching hospital
laboratories, government as well as private, small hospitals, private clinics
and diagnostic centers.
It is a twelve month programme starting from January to December every year.
Those who wish to enroll their names during the middle of a cycle can do so by
paying the same registration fee, but those who participate for twelve months
alone will get the participation certificates at the end of the cycle.
The various analytes included in the chemistry programme are: Glucose, urea, creatinine,
total bilirubin, total protein, albumin, calcium, phosphorus, uric acid , total cholesterol,
HDL cholesterol, sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, SGOT(AST), SGPT(ALT),
ALP, amylase, CK- Total, iron and Magnesium.
Total Thyroxine, Free Thyroxine, TSH, Total T3, Cortisol
are included in immunoassays.
The basic operation involves preparation of a
master pool of human serum as per
WHO recommended procedure, dispensing the correct volume into the vials and
lyophilysing. The lyophilysed vials are sealed, well packed in thick envelops
and distributed through courier service or postal service to all the
participating laboratories. Mailing is done on the first working day of every
month. The laboratories are requested to reconstitute the sample, analyse and
enter the results in the web site before the 28th of every month. Evaluation of
the report is based on WHO recommend method expression i.e. Variance Index Score
(VIS). VIS is obtained using chosen coefficient of variation, recommended by WHO
for Indian Laboratories. Evaluated monthly report is uploaded into the net by
the end of the month.
The EQA programme has created awareness among participants and proved to be a
valuable exercise and the number of laboratories are steadily increasing every
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