Instrumentation, reagents and people can all make errors. A good quality assurance program, is designed to detect and correct errors as soon as possible.
The Veterinary Laboratory Association (VLA) Quality Assurance Program is an external proficiency program specifically designed for veterinary laboratories. We receive sample specimens for our laboratory to analyze and return to the VLA where the data is statistically analyzed and a customized report is returned to us using both graphical and numerical data.
The VLA quality assurance program is a valuable supplement to our own internal quality assurance program.
We are a member of the Veterinary Laboratory Association Quality Assurance Program.
Procedures & Control Methods
- Chemistry: Bi level controls are assayed daily
- Hematology: Whole blood controls are used to verify the accuracy of our automated hematology analyzer
- Endocrinology: Controls for T4, Cortisol, FT4, and TSH are assayed daily
- Cortisol: Tri level immulite control and canine bi-level control
- Progesterone: Tri-level control and canine bi-level control
- T4: Tri level immulite control
- FT4: Bi level immulite control
- Canine TSH- Canine Bi-level control
Repeat Analysis Methodology
- Repeat analysis of randomly-selected patient samples from the previous day, particularly hematology. Repeat analysis should show little variation from the previous day’s results. Significant variation may be indicative of “drift” and the need for calibration or other procedures to insure accuracy and reproducibility of results.
- Repeat analysis of abnormal tests including:
- Ca <8.0 >12.0
- Na <140 >160
- K <3.5 >6.0
- Glu <60
- WBC < 5.0
- HCT <25.0
- PLT <150.0
- T4 <0.9 >4.0
We refer blood smears for pathologist review at no charge when significant abnormalities are detected.
We have become known for providing accurate Heartworm antigen results. We use the ELISA well method for Heartworm antigen. All positive Heartworm results must be verified by repeat analysis and must also be positive by a different Hwag methodology before being reported as positive. If EDTA blood is submitted, the presence of Microfilaria is evaluated microscopically.
Quality Assurance Policies and Procedures
Specimens are received into our laboratory and are checked to ensure:
- Specimen numbers match test requisitions.
- Specimens were submitted in correct tube/container.
- Serum samples are checked for: icterus, lipemia, and hemolysis.
- Specimens are assigned unique ID numbers.
- The ID number identifies the sample along with requested tests and is entered into the L.I.S.
- ID numbers are used only once.
- Directly links laboratory instrumentation to order and record test results.
- Provide online viewing of test results from anywhere.
Our policy is to keep all hematology, chemistry and coagulation tubes for one week.
- MVL uses reagents and consumables that are recommended for each laboratory instrument by the manufacturer.
- MVL has service contracts for all laboratory instruments. Service is performed by authorized service representatives. Preventative maintenance procedures are performed daily, monthly, and bi-annually per the manufacturer.
- No reagents, consumables or controls are used past expiration date.
2. Hematology analyzers are calibrated using whole blood
- Calibration and controls are ran when reagent is replaced or when a new lot number is started.
- Daily use of normal and abnormal controls verifies proper system performance.
- MVL follows proper procedures when a control is out of range:
1) Recalibration and rerun of control.
2) Control must be in acceptable range prior to any testing.
3) In the event that recalibration and the rerun of control do not fall into acceptable ranges:
- Prepare fresh control.
- Prepare fresh calibrator.
- Prepare and place fresh reagent.
*If none of the above work, then manufacturer customer service is notified.
– MVL maintains quality control logs for each instrument.
- Prior to any testing, each morning quality controls are performed on each instrument and recorded in the quality control log for that instrument.
- MVL’s hematology analyzer has been validated for use on over 40 different animal species, including laboratory animals and fluids.
- Standard chemistry and enzyme assays have been validated for animal use.
- Special chemistry assays are validated for use prior to any testing.
- Laboratory personnel have been trained to perform proper quality control procedures.
- Laboratory personnel are only allowed to operate instruments that they have been properly trained and tested on.
- Testing is assigned to personnel based upon training, education, and complexity of testing.
- Testing is divided into three categories:
1) Entering specimens into the L.I.S.
2) Routine testing, automated assays, standard chemistry, hematology, and coagulation.
3) Advanced/Complex: Special procedures, special hematology, special chemistry.