General description

Article Index

Registration for participation in external quality assessments is carried out with a registration form, to be forwarded to ÖQUASTA by fax, post or email. If you are already participating in a survey, you can register for additionally requested surveys by email without filling out a form. Deregistration is also completed without forms by email or post.

Participants receive samples annually in the indicated frequency on the specified dates. Please note that the samples are materials of human origin, and are therefore to be regarded as potentially infectious and handled with the same level of care as patient samples.

Please notify the ÖQUASTA office if you have not received any samples five days after the indicated dispatch date, or the consignment is damaged or incompletely received.

You will receive a cover letter with the sample materials, containing data on the material (e.g. reconstitution volume and time, storage and shelf life of the material, special data for specific analytes, manufacturer of material). Moreover, you will receive a summary of findings, in which you document your results and which you send to ÖQUASTA by fax or post if registered for such transmission of results (“Transmission by fax or post” on the page “Info return”).

Control samples from a survey should – where possible at least - be analysed in an identical manner to patient samples.

Return deadline

Please find the deadline period in which you can forward results of a stage of our surveys in the summary of findings or cover letter. Results received after the end of the return deadline cannot be considered in the analysis.

Indication of results

Please indicate the results in the required units (as indicated on the summary of findings) with the specified decimal points. Analytes for which values are indicated in SI units are referred to in the relevant cover letter of the sample dispatch. Please take any necessary conversion factors from the tables in the course of sample dispatch.

Forwarding of results and confirmation of the up-to-date nature of indicated methods

Results may be forwarded electronically by indicating your laboratory number and PIN on the ÖQUASTA website or by fax (01 319 88 97) or post (1090 Vienna, Hörlgasse 18/5). Please note that a handling fee is invoiced for the administration of results transmitted by fax or post!

1. Transmission on the ÖQUASTA website

Using the “enter result” button on the start page of our website, you will find an input screen, which you open with your laboratory number and PIN.

You can then select the survey for which you want to enter the results, and confirm the correct details of the method by clicking on the checkbox □ “I hereby confirm that the methods listed below were used for the current survey”. If you have used a different method from the one indicated in the input screen, change the method filed in the ÖQUASTA database before entering the results.

Enter the relevant values and complete the entry with the button “Send values to ÖQUASTA”. The message “ ... values were successfully transferred” confirms the correct transfer of the displayed number of values.

The button “display printer-friendly values” allows you to print out the results transferred to ÖQUASTA for your documentation.

2. Transmission by fax or post

In order to forward results by fax or post, please exclusively use the summary of findings, which you received when sending the samples..

Legibly enter your laboratory number and the results into the summary of findings. Please note that in all cases only one figure is entered into each stipulated field inside a box.

Confirm correct data on the method (can be found in the document “Comparability classes” for the previous survey) by marking the box □ “I hereby confirm that the methods listed below were used for the current survey”. If you have used a different method from the one reported to ÖQUASTA, please contact us (see “Change in data on your methods”).

Send the filled-out summary of findings by fax (01 319 88 97) or post (1090 Vienna, Hörlgasse 18/5) to ÖQUASTA, observe the end of the return deadline and possible mailing duration.

Retain the summary (summaries) of findings or one copy thereof for your documentation.

Data on your methodology

1. Transmission on the ÖQUASTA website

Enter a change to the method reported to ÖQUASTA for an analyte using the button “Change methodology”; select the “Addition” button for new data. Select the method used from the “possible methods” column and confirm the selection using the “save attributes” button. If the method that you have used does not appear in the “possible methods” column, please send the most precise details by email to office(at); we shall include the new method in the selection.

2. Transmission by fax or post

In case of changes or additions, please contact us.

Results transmitted by participants are compared with the relevant targets. These targets are either calculated as an average of all participants’ results in a collective (consensus figure) or specified by survey management.

“Acceptance limits” are set for metric results with a percentage above and below the target; results for participants within these acceptance limits in all samples lead to a positive rating for the participant.

Nominal results for participants must conform to the relevant target, in order to achieve a positive rating of participation.

Following completion of the analysis of a survey and approval by survey management, all participants shall receive the following documents:

  • Confirmation of participation – confirmation of participation in a stage of a survey, indication of each analyte, the results of which are within the acceptance limits
  • Comparability classes – list of your methods and assignment to comparability classes
  • Individual analysis – list of all analytes within a survey with transmitted results, acceptance criteria and deviation of the result from the target
  • Score diagram - measurement for overall assessment of all results for a participant within a survey; the scores of all participants are shown in the bar chart, the score for the individual participant is indicated and marked in the distribution of all participants’ scores.
  • any comment from survey management - summary of results, comments and notes of survey management

Annual confirmation

At the end of each year each participant receives the following documents:

  • Annual confirmation – list of all analytes specified in the various surveys with an indication of the number of transmissions in the calendar year, number of participants (return of results) and number of results within acceptance limits
  • List of methods – list of methods reported to ÖQUASTA by the participant for each analyte
  • Graphics – graph of deviations from the relevant target values for analytes in the individual stages of surveys

ÖQUASTA forwards the annual confirmation to the regional medical association for participants who have declared their consent thereto.

1. Transmission on the ÖQUASTA website

Those participants who are exclusively registered for electronic forwarding of results and analyses receive email notification once the documents are available on the ÖQUASTA website

2. Transmission by fax or post

Participants who are registered for sending printed documents receive the annual confirmation by post. The list of methods is only forwarded on request.

The costs of participation in ÖQUASTA external quality assessments and any requested multiple samples can be found in the pricelist.

The invoice for participation in the external quality assessments is compiled in the first quarter of each year and sent to participants; charges are pro-rated in case of registration and deregistration during the year. Please note that in case of deregistering from participation in external quality assessments of our cooperation partners (RfB), no refund of costs is made, according to their requirements.

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