Gauge against the machine: revisiting quality for multi-targeted serology platforms

Pathology. 2023 Feb;55(1):123-126. doi: 10.1016/j.pathol.2022.10.001. Epub 2022 Nov 22.


Diagnosis of infections of public health significance, such as leptospirosis, often present challenges for laboratories. To counter common challenges and ensure quality driven health responses, rigorous validation and verification processes are required. Despite such rigor, however, can one be certain laboratory reports are truly reflective of infection, given the risk of rare, but potentially very significant quality oversights? Here we present a real-world scenario where diagnosis of leptospirosis cases was compromised over a 6-year period despite quality measures suggesting a well performing serological assay. A subsequent investigation revealed this was attributed to the programming of an automated microtitration plate analyser, evading detection by both quality control and external quality assurance processes. The quality oversight provides insight into potential limitations in quality processes in multi-targeted serological platforms.

Keywords: Serology; automation; quality assurance; quality control.

MeSH terms

  • Hematologic Tests
  • Humans
  • Laboratories
  • Leptospirosis* / diagnosis
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*