Proficiency Testing: If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen!
For years, ISO accredited agencies have been required to participate in a program of proficiency testing that seeks, in part, to evaluate a laboratory’s performance. Accrediting bodies are required in turn, to take account of the participation and performance of accredited laboratories. For some agencies this is seen as a bothersome concept and one that meets with disdain by many practitioners. For that reason, PT providers have been encouraged, by market pressure, to keep the tests straightforward and on the easier side of the difficulty equation. This, my good friends, and colleagues, has led to our profession being appropriately chastised by those who seek to question our testing methods and the results of our examinations. It is time to face the fact that we must, as Quality Managers and forensic practitioners, be willing to incorporate proficiency testing samples which DO fairly represent what we see in actual casework. In addition, expansion of conclusion options being proposed by the various scientific working groups within OSAC will result in commercial proficiency tests providers having to respond to the changing standards. It is critically important that all Quality Managers and Forensic Professionals actively lead in the development of this new testing culture within their own laboratories and Ron’s lecture will provide you with some suggestions on how to make that happen.