Statistical Quality Control is well established as a key assurance technique for medical laboratories. In chemistry and other disciplines, the use of statistical quality control and “Westgard Rules” is common, but the implementation of these techniques is less well understood in hematology. The challenge of hematology parameters, particularly the short life of the controls, often introduces additional variation and errors that obscure the real status of the patient specimens. The issues of using external controls has often led hematology labs to adopt inaccurate and inefficient practices in their quality control program. Through benchmarking on the Six Sigma scale, it is possible to optimize the QC process for hematology parameters, adjusting the QC rules and controls so that tests are not “over-QC’d” nor “under-QC’d”.
- Recognize poor QC practices in hematology.
- Adopt best QC practices
- Optimize the “Westgard Rules” for hematology parameters.
- Adjust QC frequency to account for the Sigma-metric performance of the test.
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