WHO manual for organizing a national external quality assessment programme for health laboratories and other testing sites


Results of clinical testing obtained from laboratories or testing sites at or near the point of care must be as accurate as possible as they have a direct impact on care and treatment, prevention, and control of diseases. Testing consists of pre-examination, examination, and post-examination processes, which require strict implementation of a quality management system. Participation in an “external quality assessment” (EQA) programme allows for a “peer-review” process towards solving technical and methodological problems to improve the quality of service for each individual testing site as well as to achieve comparability of results among different testing services. This manual describes some of the strategic, managerial, financial, technical and scientific aspects to be considered in establishing a national EQA programme for clinical laboratories and other testing services at all health care levels.