Use of Proficiency Testing as a Tool to Improve Quality in Microbiology Laboratories
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Use of Proficiency Testing as a Tool to Improve Quality in Microbiology Laboratories
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    Proficiency testing (PT) is a valuable tool for assessing laboratory performance and verifying the accuracy and reliability of test results. Participation is required by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) of 1988 for each of the microbiology subspecialties (bacteriology, mycobacteriology, mycology, parasitology, and virology), and the regulations include specific PT requirements for each subspecialty. To determine the use and perceived value of PT beyond meeting CLIA requirements, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded a cooperative agreement with the Association of Public Health Laboratories to convene a series of focus groups to query laboratory professionals responsible for PT. The seven focus groups were comprised of 60 laboratory professionals representing large and small clinical laboratories, microbiology subspecialties, and public health. While participants acknowledged the need to perform PT to meet regulatory requirements, many also cited benefits and challenges beyond regulatory compliance.
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