BSAVA launches new Lab Method Performance Verification Help Tool

10 June 2021

The BSAVA has launched a new lab method performance verification help tool to support the new updates to the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme (PSS).

The PSS is a voluntary quality assurance scheme for veterinary practices which is run by the RCVS. The BSAVA has been working with the PSS to introduce a new voluntary standard into the PSS scoring scheme which recognises practices seeking to ascertain the performance of their own laboratory analysers.

Under the new standard practices must demonstrate how they have verified manufacturers’ claims for automated analyser performance, or alternatively demonstrate how they have determined the limitations of their laboratory methods. To meet the standard, practices need to acquire data from their own analysers which is entered into the new BSAVA Lab Method Performance Verification Tool.

The new lab method performance verification help tool, which has been developed by practitioners and specialists to ensure ease of use, automatically calculates the total observed error for each analyte, and compares the value for the in-house analyser against the recommended maximum total allowable error. In addition, the tool determines whether alternative, more sensitive, QC strategies are required to monitor the performance of the analyser and detect analytical errors at an earlier stage.

Tim Williams, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pathology at the University of Cambridge and a co-author of the new tool, said: “Many, if not most, small animal practitioners will be using some sort of in-clinic analysers on a daily basis to measure blood concentrations of cells or biochemical markers such as glucose or creatinine to support decisions about their patients. Consequently, it is important to know whether the laboratory equipment they use to support diagnostic decision making is fit for that purpose. Many practices will perform quality control checks on their in-house analysers, however sometimes the ‘target range’ provided is too wide to detect clinically relevant analytical errors.”

Peter Graham, Clinical Associate Professor in Clinical Pathology and Endocrinology at the University of Nottingham and a co-author of the new tool, added: “The new voluntary standard will be worth 10 points towards the Award in Diagnostic Services in the PSS, although we would encourage all practices to perform this sort of validation on their in-house analysers, whether or not they intend to try to achieve this new standard.

“By performing these checks and ensuring that your in-house analyser is able to tell you what you need to know, practitioners can be assured that the results they obtain are valid, and therefore feel more confident in their clinical decision making.”

Krista Arnold, Honorary Secretary at the BSAVA, concluded: “As a general practitioner, I am thrilled to have access to such an easy-to-use tool that improves trust and confidence in my in-house laboratory results.”

The new verification tool has been developed alongside the Practice Standards Scheme’s (PSS) five year review update which includes revisions to a number requirements focussed on clinical governance, staff health and wellbeing, and the role of veterinary nurses.

The tool, together with comprehensive instructions for its use, is freely available via the BSAVA Library here.