W.A. van der Reijden
- Quality control for diagnostic oral microbiology laboratories in European countries
- Journal of Oral Microbiology
- Article number
- Document type
- Faculty of Dentistry (ACTA)
Participation in diagnostic microbiology internal and external quality control (QC) processes is good laboratory practice and an essential component of a quality management system. However, no QC scheme for diagnostic oral microbiology existed until 2009 when the Clinical Oral Microbiology (COMB) Network was created. At the European Oral Microbiology Workshop in 2008, 12 laboratories processing clinical oral microbiological samples were identified. All these were recruited to participate into the study and six laboratories from six European countries completed both the online survey and the first QC round. Three additional laboratories participated in the second round. Based on the survey, European oral microbiology laboratories process a significant (mean per laboratory 4,135) number of diagnostic samples from the oral cavity annually. A majority of the laboratories did not participate in any internal or external QC programme and nearly half of the laboratories did not have standard operating procedures for the tests they performed. In both QC rounds, there was a large variation in the results, interpretation and reporting of antibiotic susceptibility testing among the laboratories. In conclusion, the results of this study demonstrate the need for harmonisation of laboratory processing methods and interpretation of results for oral microbiology specimens. The QC rounds highlighted the value of external QC in evaluating the efficacy and safety of processes, materials and methods used in the laboratory. The use of standardised methods is also a prerequisite for multi-centre epidemiological studies that can provide important information on emerging microbes and trends in anti-microbial susceptibility for empirical prescribing in oro-facial infections.
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