Objective. - To develop a grading scheme for the proficiency testing of small peer groups of fewer than 10 members for the prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT). Methods. - A modified target value for small peer groups was derived based on the assumption that measurement variability in the PT and APTT is more greatly influenced by variations in reagents than in instruments. Criteria for grading were established by statistical simulation to achieve misclassification errors of less than 5% for both incorrectly passing and failing participants. College of American Pathologists Coagulation Survey data were analyzed to determine the number of additional laboratories graded using the proposed scheme, as well as the failure rates among participants in the small peer groups. Results. - The modified target value for small peer groups is a weighted average between the mean of the peer group and the mean of all participants using the same reagent (reagent group). Peer groups with as few as 4 members can be graded provided that specific criteria are satisfied: there must be at least 5 peer groups for the same reagent, at least 3 of these 5 peer groups must have more than 3 members, and the coefficient of variation for the reagent group must be less than 10%. This proposed grading scheme decreased the number of ungraded laboratories by 44% to 46% for the PT and 42% to 55% for the APTT. The percentage of failing grades among participants in the small peer groups ranged from 1.3% to 4.1% for the PT and 1.4% to 7.2% for the APTT. These failure rates were 2.8- to 13.0-fold higher than the failure rates in large peer groups (P ≤ .05). Conclusions. - The proposed small peer group grading scheme can improve the effectiveness of College of American Pathologists proficiency testing for the PT and APTT and may also be generally applicable to other test methods and analytes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine|
|State||Published - Mar 22 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Medical Laboratory Technology