Quality control is an indispensable part of quality assurance in any study, intending to ensure high standards during data acquisition. The aim of this paper is to describe the measures of quality control undertaken in the German EPIC study centers and to present selected results of these procedures (EPIC = European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition). For all data assessment tools applied in the German EPIC study, procedures were developed to monitor both the personnel as well as the technical instruments. These procedures combined quantitative and qualitative measurements of quality control. Interviewer performance was evaluated through direct observation and rated according to an evaluation score. Blood pressure and anthropometric measurements were both controlled through direct observation of measurement procedures as well as through periodical technical control of measurement devices. Blood sampling procedures were directly monitored and subsequent handling of the probes tightly recorded, including information on time sequence of work-up and room temperature. With these diverse control measurements and the obtained rating of assessment procedures a broad pool of information has been made available to support a critical evaluation of the data obtained in the EPIC study centers in Heidelberg and Potsdam.
Copyright 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel