External Proficiency Testing (EPT) is a mandatory part of the EFI accreditation process for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (H&I) laboratories. The major goal of the EFI EPT Committee (EPTC) is to harmonise EPT for H&I affiliated with EFI.
The aims of the EPT Committee are:
- Collects information on external proficiency testing schemes operational in H & I laboratories affiliated to EFI and works to ensure their homogeneity and comparability
- Is responsible for defining and revising EPT Standards for Laboratories
- Makes recommendations concerning the organisation of EPT schemes and provides help and advice to new EPT schemes when requested
- Defines and revises the Standards for Providers of EPT schemes in concordance with national and international standards
- Identifies regions lacking EPT schemes and develops strategies to serve these areas
The EFI EPTC reflects activities covered by EFI Standards. Therefore, the EPTC is currently restricted to addressing issues related to human histocompatibility testing.
The members of the EFI EPTC act as Regional EPT Coordinators. These Regional EPT Coordinators liaise with their respective Regional EFI Commissioners to ensure conformance with the EPT Standards. EPT Coordinators shall advise and support EFI accredited laboratories, those laboratories actively seeking EFI accreditation and EPT Organisers to meet these standards.
Region 1 – Scandinavia – Helle Bruunsgaard
Region 2 – Benelux – Yvonne Zoet
Region 3 – UK + Ireland – Deborah Pritchard
Region 4 – Germany – Martin Bernheiden
Region 5 – Central Europe – Katarzyna Bogunia-Kubik
Region 6 + 11 – France + Switzerland – Sylvie Ferrari-Lacraz
Region 7 – Italy – Elena Longhi
Region 8 – Balkans + Israel – Anastasiya Mihaylova
Region 9 + 10 – Iberia – Sandra Tafulo
Region 99 – Outside Europe – Deborah Pritchard
The EPTC has started a register of EPT programs. H&I EPT Providers were requested to register on the EFI database. This registration established a list giving an overview of EPT programs for H&I laboratories. The list is updated at regular time intervals.
The EFI Standards in version 7.0 comprise a separate Section D (External Proficiency Testing) containing the EPT Standards for H&I laboratories. These Standards are reviewed at least annually by the EPTC for updates. In addition, the EPTC has formulated the Standards for EPT Providers which are also updated at regular time intervals.
The EPTC provides assistance and education for developing EPT programs. A special focus lies on the regions lacking EPT schemes which are mandatory for EFI accreditation. In such exceptional cases labs may organize inter-laboratory exchanges of samples to check if they perform H&I diagnostics in a comparable manner.
The EPTC has created a Manual for inter-laboratory exchanges (which can be downloaded here).
A special “Meet the EPT Experts” session as part of the annual EFI conference is organized by the EPTC. In this session all regional EPT representatives are present for discussion with the audience. Topics of special interest for the EPT in H&I field will be addressed.
For additional information/consultation please contact the EPT Committee Chair.
These Standards are the minimum criteria required for organizations providing EPT services in H&I (EPT Providers) to conform to the accreditation procedures of EFI. Created and accepted by the EFI EPT Committee in December 2020 and approved by the EFI Executive Committee in April 2021. The implementation date for this version 7.3 is January 1st, 2022.
the Netherlands (Co-Chair)
France + Switzerland