Sunday, 17 February, 2019

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Proficiency Testing

Proficiency testing is carried out since even in a well organised, accredited laboratory with the best staff and best equipment anomalous results may still occur. It is also possible that a standardized method, validated by precision tests may contain errors that are surfaced after several rounds of a proficiency testing scheme. The requirement for participation in proficiency testing not only lends confidence to laboratory performance but also for customers and accreditation bodies. Other reasons for the use of proficiency testing includes evaluation of laboratory performance for specific tests, initiation of corrective action where and when appropriate, establishment of effectiveness and comparability of differing test methods, identification of interlaboratory differences, education of participating laboratories where appropriate and validation of any uncertainty of measurement claims.

The results obtained by the participating laboratory are submitted to the Proficiency testing coordinator who collates all the results from the participants. Statistical analysis such as an outlier test, the average, standard deviation, robust average, robust standard deviation, uncertainty of measurement and z-scores are calculated. A report is compiled for each of the participants detailing their performance, possible problem areas and conclusions. The participant uses this information to rectify any areas of concern highlighted by the scheme.