EQA Client News 2/2024

Welcome to our quarterly EQA client newsletter! As we are stepping into summer, we are excited to share the latest developments from Labquality.

Topics covered in this newsletter:

In July, Labquality's general switchboard will operate at reduced hours from 9 AM to 3 PM until 19 July. Customer service emails will be handled as usual. After this, the switchboard and customer service at will be closed and reopen on 29 July.


Introducing Labquality’s R&D and Science Team!

The R&D and Science Team is one of three teams inside EQA Solutions at Labquality. All three teams actively deliver the EQA rounds to our clients, and each team has a special focus of interest. The two other teams will be introduced in the upcoming newsletters.

We continuously use our innovative energy to develop better and more versatile quality assessment tools. We offer new external quality assessment schemes and introduce new tools for external quality control, always listening to our customers' needs. The development work is done in collaboration with the other EQA Solution teams and our EQA staff.

We also have a large network of over a hundred laboratory medicine professionals who act as scheme experts, members of our expert groups, and lecturers at various training events. In collaboration, we have presented numerous posters from our projects, and we are also proud to be co-writers in scientific publications.

We are a team of six persons focusing on the development of new EQA products, in addition to delivering EQA rounds. From left: EQA Solutions Manager Heidi Berghäll, EQA Coordinators Satu Eklund, Kati Luiro, Liisa Ylitepsa, Hanna Heikkilä and Pia Eloranta.

We actively attend international events and strive to be present where things are happening. By participating in international conferences and training events, we enhance our expertise, learn about new innovations, and identify needs for new EQA products. In addition to developing new products, we continuously improve our existing EQA rounds.

We also aim to share knowledge about external quality assurance and gladly welcome ideas and feedback from our customers. Our operations aim to support clinical laboratories and point-of-care testing sites by providing high-quality external quality assessment services. Please respond to our feedback surveys whenever you encounter one. Your comments are of great value to us in our continuous development work.

Upcoming EQA pilot studies

The R&D team currently has many excellent customer requests on our agenda. Last year, we conducted four pilot rounds, now listed as new products in this year's catalogue. We are currently working on two completely new rounds and piloting new sample materials for two existing rounds.

Our international customers have long requested a scheme for Norovirus antigen detection, and we are glad to announce that we will be conducting a pilot round this autumn. The registration link is open until the end of June. In the clinical chemistry section, we are planning to conduct a pilot for Holotranscobalamin (HoloTC, an active B12 vitamin) and methylmalonate acid this autumn. Registration will open later this year.

This spring, we piloted an authentic whole blood sample for our IGRA scheme (Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) for M. tuberculosis), which allows the round to cover the entire analysis process from sample incubation to analysis. The first round using this sample will take place in spring 2025, and you will find it in next year’s product catalogue with its own product code. For the quantitative faecal occult blood (iFOB/FIT) scheme, we also tested a new sample material that is handled in the same way as a patient sample. We received positive feedback from the pilot participants, so we eagerly anticipate round 2-2024 in June, when this sample material will be used for the first time in a round. 

Last year, we collected preliminary registrations for planned pilot studies. Some of these will be postponed to 2025, but the registrations remain valid. You can find the planned pilots on our website, and we will notify those who have registered as the pilot approaches. We also kindly encourage you to suggest new rounds to us. 

Greetings from the ESCMID Global Congress

EQA coordinator Kati Luiro, EQA Solutions Manager Kristel Virtanen, EQA coordinator Riitta Viertola. Also Procurement Manager Piritta Peri attended the event

Members of the EQA Solutions team participated in the ESCMID Global Congress (European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases) held in Barcelona at the end of April. The scientific program served as an excellent educational event for team members involved in microbiology EQA rounds and there were many good encounters at the congress exhibition. The number of poster presentations was abundant, and Labquality presented two posters. One presented the results of the Mycoplasma genitalium drug resistance scheme, and the other highlighted the benefits of preanalytical cases in bacteriology schemes