Background: QC planning based on risk management concepts can reduce the probability of harming patients due to an undetected out-of-control error condition. It does this by selecting appropriate QC procedures to decrease the number of erroneous results reported. The selection can be easily made by using published nomograms for simple QC rules when the out-of-control condition results in increased systematic error. However, increases in random error also occur frequently and are difficult to detect, which can result in erroneously reported patient results.
Methods: A statistical model was used to construct charts for the 1ks and χ̄/χ2 rules. The charts relate the increase in the number of unacceptable patient results reported due to an increase in random error with the capability of the measurement procedure. They thus allow for QC planning based on the risk of patient harm due to the reporting of erroneous results.
Results: 1ks Rules are simple, all-around rules. Their ability to deal with increases in within-run imprecision is minimally affected by the possible presence of significant, stable, between-run imprecision. χ̄/χ2 rules perform better when the number of controls analyzed during each QC event is increased to improve QC performance.
Conclusions: Using nomograms simplifies the selection of statistical QC procedures to limit the number of erroneous patient results reported due to an increase in analytical random error. The selection largely depends on the presence or absence of stable between-run imprecision.
- Received for publication October 4, 2016.
- Accepted for publication January 9, 2017.
- © 2017 American Association for Clinical Chemistry