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Practical Solution for Control of the Pre-Analytical Phase in Decentralized Clinical Laboratories for Meeting the Requirements of the Medical Laboratory Accreditation Standard DIN EN ISO 15189 by Vladimir Vacata, Gerlinde Jahns-Streubel, Mirjana Baldus, William Graham Wood

This report was written in response to the article by Wood published recently in this journal (1). It describes a practical solution to the problems of controlling the pre-analytical phase in the clinical diagnostic laboratory. As an indicator of quality in the pre-analytical phase of sample processing, a target analyte was chosen which is sensitive to delay in centrifugation and/or analysis. The results of analyses of the samples sent by satellite medical practitioners were compared with those from an on-site hospital laboratory with a controllable optimized pre-analytical phase. The aim of the comparison was: (a) to identify those medical practices whose mean/median sample values significantly deviate from those of the control situation in the hospital laboratory due to the possible problems in the pre-analytical phase; (b) to aid these laboratories in the process of rectifying these problems.
A Microsoft Excel-based Pre-Analytical Survey tool (PAS tool) has been developed which addresses the above mentioned problems. It has been tested on serum potassium which is known to be sensitive to delay and/or irregularities in sample treatment. The PAS tool has been shown to be one possibility for improving the quality of the analyses by identifying the sources of problems within the pre-analytical phase, thus allowing them to be rectified. Additionally, the PAS tool has an educational value and can also be adopted for use in other decentralized laboratories.

DOI: Clin. Lab. 2007;53:211-215