Enhanced patient-based real-time quality control using the graph-based anomaly detection

Clin Chem Lab Med. 2024 May 16. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2024-0124. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Patient-based real-time quality control (PBRTQC) is an alternative tool for laboratories that has gained increasing attention. Despite the progress made by using various algorithms, the problems of data volume imbalance between in-control and out-of-control results, as well as the issue of variation remain challenges. We propose a novel integrated framework using anomaly detection and graph neural network, combining clinical variables and statistical algorithms, to improve the error detection performance of patient-based quality control.

Methods: The testing results of three representative analytes (sodium, potassium, and calcium) and eight independent variables of patients (test date, time, gender, age, department, patient type, and reference interval limits) were collected. Graph-based anomaly detection network was modeled and used to generate control limits. Proportional and random errors were simulated for performance evaluation. Five mainstream PBRTQC statistical algorithms were chosen for comparison.

Results: The framework of a patient-based graph anomaly detection network for real-time quality control (PGADQC) was established and proven feasible for error detection. Compared with classic PBRTQC, the PGADQC showed a more balanced performance for both positive and negative biases. For different analytes, the average number of patient samples until error detection (ANPed) of PGADQC decreased variably, and reductions could reach up to approximately 95 % at a small bias of 0.02 taking calcium as an example.

Conclusions: The PGADQC is an effective framework for patient-based quality control, integrating statistical and artificial intelligence algorithms. It improves error detection in a data-driven fashion and provides a new approach for PBRTQC from the data science perspective.

Keywords: anomaly detection; graph neural network; patient-based real-time quality control; statistical process control.