One of the key processes in laboratories is the provision of normal values (reference values or intervals) that are used for data interpretation. The creation of clinical care networks (e.g. cancer, cardiology, renal et cetera) has introduced a new issue of data sharing with potential problems in data interpretation which will be amplified by attempts to merge data sets from different laboratories. The route to raise patient safety is through standardization.
The establishment of a means of comparing between laboratories is a requirement for data interchange. It will bring benefits for those patients and doctors who move from one hospital to another; and for the translation of research in clinical diagnostics into practice.
The aim of this study is to determine the reference intervals of the most frequently requested analytes using all available methods and to assess the interchangeability of these reference intervals in the Yorkshire laboratories. A secondary aim is to keep a panel of well characterised samples that can be used for evaluation of analytes that may be employed in the future. A parallel study will be conducted in Northern Ireland.
The project has been approved by the Bradford Research and Ethics Committee.