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Harmonization of Measurands in Laboratory Medicine through Data Aggregation


The HALMA initiative

Combining results from various EQA providers may provide a powerful tool to monitor harmonization of measurement procedures in the medical laboratory. Therefore, the International Consortium for Harmonization in Laboratory Medicine (ICHCLR) and The European Organisation for External Quality Assurance Providers in Laboratory Medicine (EQALM), have joined forces for an initiative called HALMA. The acronym stands for HArmonization of measurands in Laboratory Medicine through data Aggregation and aims to collect and aggregate results from different EQA providers that use commutable samples. The purpose is to evaluate and assess harmonization of measurands through aggregated EQA data on an international basis. This program is an expansion of a feasibility study reported here.


A steering committee consisting of delegates from EQALM and ICHCLR is now creating the structure for developing procedures to monitor harmonization using the EQALM central data base in which EQA results from a large series of measurands will be stored and available for analysis. Two major challenges must be addressed to initiate this program:
1) how to assess with a high degree of probability commutability of EQA samples; and
2) how to group different measurement procedures. In addition, criteria for evaluating harmonization will be determined as appropriate for various measurands. Working groups are established to address each of these challenges.

Working groups


Commutability

The working group on commutability works in parallel with the IFCC working group on commutability in metrologic traceability. The tasks for this working group are to define what are sufficient and adequate indications for commutability of EQA samples to support aggregation of results. See members and Terms of Reference for this WG.

Description of measurement procedures

The working group on description of measurement procedures used by EQA providers will define the information needed to describe and classify measurement procedures into pragmatic homogeneous groups. See members and Terms of Reference for this WG.

Specific measurands

Working groups on measurands will be established in order to give measurand-specific advice to the working groups on commutability and description of measurement procedures, and to define measurand-specific criteria for assessing harmonization. See Terms of Reference for this WG.

In a first stage, EQA data from Creatinine and Calcium will be collected into the data base.



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