Thursday, April 28, 2005

EQUIP: International Collaboration in Laboratory Services

Kathleen L. Caldwell, Amir A. Makhmudov, and Robert L. Jones.

Iodine, an essential element for thyroid function, is necessary for normal growth, development, and functioning of the brain and body. Iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) is well-documented global health problems, affecting more than a billion people worldwide. Urinary iodine (UI) directly reflects the body's iodine status. Until 2003 there were no standard reference materials available to measure urine iodine.

In 2001 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established a program, Ensuring the Quality of Urinary Iodine Procedures (EQUIP), a program designed to improve the quality of urinary iodine measurements worldwide.

Laboratories measuring urinary iodine worldwide were invited to join EQUIP. Our laboratory and two other EQUIP participants used ICP-MS. Most of the laboratories used spectrophotometric monitoring of the Sandell-Kolthoff reaction with sample digestion accomplished by using either ammonium persulfate digestion or chloric acid digestion. During the first eight rounds of EQUIP 48 laboratories participated by measuring unknown samples and reporting to CDC. CDC used the results to prepare a statistical report for the participating laboratories. This feedback, to the laboratories, provided external confirmation regarding performance.

In an effort to improve efficiency we are excited to utilize web based data reporting:
The web site contains not only data submission forms, but also historical reports from previous EQUIP rounds. We encourage all EQUIP laboratories to use this tool to initiate communication with other laboratories who are performing iodine analysis. Almost 50% of our participating EQUIP laboratories are utilizing our web based reporting system. We have seen improvement in many of our participating laboratories-while other laboratories failed to improve. In some instances laboratories realized that they needed to purchase new equipment.

EQUIP ads a tool for validation of urine iodine analysis and offers a secondary reference material to laboratories active in the process of monitoring the elimination of IDD in the world.

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See more of The 2005 Institute for Quality in Laboratory Medicine Conference