Approaches to quality management and accreditation in a genetic testing laboratory

Eur J Hum Genet. 2010 Sep;18 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S1-19. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2010.104.


Medical laboratories, and specifically genetic testing laboratories, provide vital medical services to different clients: clinicians requesting a test, patients from whom the sample was collected, public health and medical-legal instances, referral laboratories and authoritative bodies. All expect results that are accurate and obtained in an efficient and effective manner, within a suitable time frame and at acceptable cost. There are different ways of achieving the end results, but compliance with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 15189, the international standard for the accreditation of medical laboratories, is becoming progressively accepted as the optimal approach to assuring quality in medical testing. We present recommendations and strategies designed to aid genetic testing laboratories with the implementation of a quality management system, including key aspects such as document control, external quality assessment, internal quality control, internal audit, management review, validation, as well as managing the human side of change. The focus is on pragmatic approaches to attain the levels of quality management and quality assurance required for accreditation according to ISO 15189, within the context of genetic testing. Attention is also given to implementing efficient and effective quality improvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation / organization & administration
  • Europe
  • Genetic Testing / standards*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Laboratories / standards*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / standards*
  • Quality Control
  • Total Quality Management / standards