May 04, 2016

Quality Control in Veterinary Diagnostic Testing

A review recently published in The Veterinary Journal discusses ways to minimize errors in veterinary diagnostic testing, both with tests run in-house and those sent to diagnostic laboratories.
By Laurie Anne Walden, DVM, ELS

Avoiding errors 

Some recommendations to minimize errors include the following:
  • Use checklists to help avoid preventable errors
  • Use written procedures
  • Document personnel training
  • Ensure correct sample volumes and processing times
  • Document all errors
  • Perform and document instrument maintenance
  • Use properly stored, in-date reagents
  • Repeat tests when results are not compatible with a patient’s clinical presentation
  • Back up all data  
Creating a quality control system for a veterinary clinic can seem difficult. It may be helpful to consult a clinical pathologist with an interest in quality control. Guidelines are also available online from the American Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathologists.
Dr. Camus chairs the Quality and Laboratory Standards committee of the American Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathologists.
Dr. Laurie Anne Walden received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from North Carolina State University in 1994. After an internship at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, she returned to North Carolina, where she has been in companion animal general practice for over 20 years. Dr. Walden is also a board-certified Editor in the Life Sciences and owner of Walden Medical Writing.

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