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Proficiency testing explained… six reasons why PT is important – and one great way to make it work harder for you

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Why should analytical testing & measurement laboratories be participating in proficiency testing schemes? What are the benefits? And how can laboratories get started on PT?

Put simply, proficiency testing (PT) is an essential tool for helping to ensure that your laboratory gets its results right – both now and into the future. By assessing the actual results produced by the laboratory, PT reflects on all aspects of the laboratory’s quality assurance system.

One fundamental reason for your laboratory joining a PT scheme is to obtain an external and independent assessment of its performance in conducting specific tests or measurements – and it is also a key requirement within international standards on laboratory competence.

This assessment either gives you, your customers, and regulators the confidence that your processes are robust – or lets you know that there are potential problems and pinpoints the corrections that need to be made.

A wider range of benefits

But for PT to be truly effective, it should be a much wider undertaking, as there are many other benefits that arise from participating in a PT scheme. These include:

ISO Accreditation – taking part in a PT scheme is essential to achieving laboratory accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 and/or ISO 15189.

Verifying methods and equipment calibration – laboratories can use PT results to verify their measurement processes - including methods, sample handling, equipment, and calibration. They can check or, with caution, derive their measurement uncertainty estimates, and they may also use surplus PT materials to support internal quality controls.

Managing risks – PT helps protect consumers, brand reputation and profitability by helping laboratories to manage early warning signs, and enabling a rapid resolution of problems.

Training laboratory teams– PT schemes can be used as a continuous staff education and improvement tool, allowing managers to identify and deliver training needs, and to develop individuals via exposure to infrequently seen analyte concentrations and sample matrices.

Comparing results – PT enables participants to compare their performance with their peers across the world, as well as within and between an organisation’s sites.

Our PT Masterclass – an unmissable opportunity

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LGC AXIO Proficiency Testing will be sharing our unparalleled laboratory quality measurement experience at our free online PT Masterclass from October 26-27.

With a main track of content available in multiple languages, our proficiency testing experts will help you to rapidly build your PT knowledge. The sessions will guide you through the world of PT and the benefits that participation can bring to a laboratory, understanding how laboratory performance is assessed, how to review and address poor performance, including how your laboratory can maximise the benefits of PT participation.

Supplemented by bite-sized sessions, focussing on specific industry sectors, opportunities to connect with AXIO experts, and on-demand access to recordings until the end of 2021, the PT Masterclass is a must for every analytical laboratory scientist.

AXIO provides proficiency testing schemes with localised support across a truly global network – serving in excess of 13,000 laboratories in over 160 countries. Our portfolio of more than 2,300 programmes also operates across a wide range of sectors - encompassing Food and Feed, Beverages, Water and Environment, Petroleum, Consumer Safety, Clinical and Forensic.

This, plus our 40 years of experience in supporting laboratories, makes AXIO your perfect proficiency testing partner – so register today to join our PT Masterclass live, or to access post-event content on demand for a limited time.

LGC. Science for a safer world.

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