Correct diagnosis is essential to ensure that people with bleeding disorders receive appropriate treatment and care. In 2004, the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) launched the International External Quality Assessment Scheme (IEQAS) program to monitor and improve laboratory performance in hemophilia treatment centres (HTCs) worldwide. The scheme is operated by the United Kingdom National External Quality Assessment Scheme for Blood Coagulation (UK NEQAS BC), based in Sheffield, U.K.
The mandate of the WFH IEQAS program is to provide an external quality assessment (EQA) for blood coagulation tests and to promote high standards of performance and practice in laboratories around the world. EQA, together with internal quality control procedures, are vital components of overall laboratory quality assurance. The WFH IEQAS program provides advisory support to participants through email exchanges, Q&A sessions, and, when feasible and recommended, lab site visits.
The IEQAS Q&A meeting—which typically takes place at WFH World Congress—was held virtually in March 2021. With over 50 registrants from more than 30 countries, the event was a resounding success.
Steve Kitchen, Chair of the WFH IEQAS Committee, opened the meeting with an overview of the objectives of IEQAS, recent changes made to the program, and future plans, which include the addition of more tests in the scheme to meet the needs of centres offering different therapies.
Next, Ian Jennings, Programme Manager at UK NEQAS BC, spoke about plans for improving performance analysis in the IEQAS Program. Jennings reviewed the current systems used for assessing laboratory performance in the program and discussed other possible performance assessment tools.