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Proficiency Laboratory Medicine PT Essentials

Do’s and Don’ts of Proficiency Testing


Do handle PT samples in the same manner as patient samples: 

  • PT samples are tested along with regular patient workload
  • PT samples are tested by personnel who routinely perform the analysis
  • PT  samples are rotated among the staff who perform the tests
  • PT samples are tested the same number of times as routine patient samples
  • Labile PT samples are tested as soon as possible after receipt of shipment
  • PT data is checked for clerical errors prior to submitting
  • PT results are submitted without consultation with other facilities
  • PT result forms indicate if a similar patient sample would be routinely referred out (e.g. bone marrows)
  • All aspects of PT sample handling, including preparation, examination, testing and reporting are documented
  • Copies of PT results are retained as per the facility Laboratory Medical Director’s policy  

Don’t give PT samples preferential treatment: 

  • PT samples are not analyzed by a special person
  • PT  samples are not analyzed in replicate when patient samples are not run in replicate
  • PT samples are not analyzed on more than one instrument for the purpose of achieving the most acceptable result for submission. (You may submit more than one instrument’s results if the laboratory is registered for multiple programs)
  • PT samples are not analyzed on 2 or more separate days
  • Controls are not analyzed just prior to running PT sample
  • PT samples are not bracketed with QC
  • When PT samples are analyzed, QC is not run more frequently than normal
  • PT testing is not delayed until the instrument is working better
  • PT results are not discussed or compared with another facility prior to submission
  • PT samples are not sent to another facility for analysis
  • PT samples are not split for testing at another facility or reference laboratory for the purpose of achieving the most acceptable result for submission