Top 5 risks of getting tests done from unaccredited laboratories
It is on the basis of authentic test results that the professional takes key decisions. As the ultimate consumer of related products and services, your risk increases multi fold while taking services of unaccredited labs.
These are the top 5 risks that you take when you get tests done from an unaccredited laboratory. This applies to any test, Medical, Structural, Equipment etc.
1. No calibration from accredited calibration laboratories.
2. No repeatability checks.
3. No proficiency testing.
4. No benchmarking with other laboratories.
5. No standard operating procedure.
Calibration from unaccredited laboratories. Most common error is to forget doing calibration, getting it done from the manufacturer, getting it done in-house, or getting it done from an unaccredited calibration laboratory. There are specific laboratories that are accredited to calibrate instruments used by NABL accredited labs. Best practice is to always calibrate from them as they have all the elements of reliability like tractability, proficiency etc.
No Repeatability checks. Usually, unaccredited laboratories have little or no measures to ensure that the results produced are repeatable with
a. other instruments with same technician or
b. with different technicians on the same instrument.
and variations such as the above. In this case, the risk is not catching an instrument or human error early on. Accredited labs on the other hand, have established processes for the same.
No proficiency testing. Often unqualified and untrained manpower is deployed to conduct testing. There is no independent agency verifying if the methods used by the lab and its people meet the standards specified. the results in this case could vary from team to team, instrument to instrument and lab to lab. leaving you with inconsistent, unreliable results. Accredited labs participate in proficiency testing on a regular basis.
No benchmarking with other laboratories: Unaccredited labs usually do not participate in inter laboratory comparison (ILC) exercises. Accredited labs can initiate ILC on their own or participate in ILC initiated by other labs. A Z score (statistical parameter) of less than 2 indicates that the results are within the acceptable range for the lab in comparison with other labs.
No SOP: This sounds very basic, however, in unaccredited labs, the SOP is usually by word of mouth, with knowledge and technique being passed down while on the job. This may result in a key step being missed or a key component being used in incorrect way. Accredited labs have a detailed, written SOP. Resulting in same input, same process, same output, irrespective of the instrument used or person or the place of performing the test.
Disclaimer: The article is based on authors personal experience and publicly available information. The intention of this article is purely educational and does not intend to cause any harm to reputation, goodwill, or brand image of an organization or a group or any individual.