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Glossary

The list below includes the most common abbreviations, acronyms, and definitions used by GenQA.


Advisor

Expert advisor who provides indepth input into the design, delivery, and direction of an EQA.  For more information go to https://genqa.org/work-with-us

Appeal

This is the process by which a laboratory/centre can ask for their provisional scores to be reviewed.

Assessor

Expert advisors in the relevant specialty (from participating laboratories/centres) whose role is to assess and score individual EQA submissions against set marking criteria. For information go to https://genqa.org/work-with-us

Case

An EQA may consist of a number of individual fictious cases/patients designed to mimic real life as closely as possible.

Catalogue

An annual catalogue listing all EQAs provided by GenQA is available as a searchable webpage and downloadable document at www.genqa.org/eqa.

Comments

Comments are agreed during the EQA marking process where possible improvements to the report or process are identified. Comments are educational and may or may not incur deductions.

Commercial invoice

Invoice accompanying sample shipment assigned a nominal fee (£1) for customs purposes but requiring no payment.

Critical error

A critical analytical or genotyping error is defined as a serious error resulting in reporting of an incorrect clinically significant result. A critical interpretation error is defined as an error which adversely affects patient management. A critical error automatically incurs a Poor Performance (excluding pilot EQAs) for the individual laboratory/centre for that EQA.   For more information see https://genqa.org/performance-monitoring.

CSCQ (CENTRE SUISSE DE CONTRÔLE DE QUALITÉ)

Swiss liasion body between EQA providers and FOPH, Federal Office of Public Health (Switzerland).

Deduction

Deductions are agreed during the EQA marking process where errors or omissions are identified in an EQA submission. The deductions are recorded in the laboratory/centre’s Individual Laboratory Report (ILR) for each EQA.

Distribution Letter

This online document is specific to a single EQA or group of EQAs and includes all information and instructions regarding participation in the EQA. The EQA instructions are made available when an EQA opens in the form of the Distribution Letter.

Distributions

A group of EQAs which open on the same date. This may include EQA samples which are dispatched on the Distribution open date, or EQAs which include online data which becomes available on the Distribution open date.  The dates for EQA distribution can be found at www.genqa.org/eqa

Documents

A list of relevant documents provided by GenQA for participants for an EQA e.g. Instructions, previous Summary report.

Enrolment

The process of enrolling in and/or purchasing an EQA or individual competency assessment.

EQA

„EQA (external quality assessment) definiuje siÄ™ jako system obiektywnego sprawdzania jakoÅ›ci pracy laboratorium przy użyciu zewnÄ™trznej agencji lub placówki”. WHO 2009. GenQA organizuje EQA w różnych dyscyplinach genomiki, wyszczególnionych na stronie www.genqa.org/eqa. EQA jest znana również jako badanie biegÅ‚oÅ›ci. Może być też nazywana programem.

PeÅ‚nÄ… listÄ™ naszych EQA można znaleźć na stronie www.genqa.org/eqa.

 

EQA close

The date the EQA closes and the deadline for participants to submit results.

EQA closing

This is the deadline for participants to submit results/reports for an EQA. Non-submission of results with no acceptable prior notification to GenQA may result in a Poor Performance designation.

EQA instructions

This online document is specific to a single EQA or group of EQAs and includes all information and instructions regarding participation in the EQA. The EQA instructions are made available when an EQA opens in the form of the Distribution Letter.

EQA lead
GenQA individual(s) responsible for the design, delivery, and direction of an EQA. May also be called Programme Organiser, Programme Director.
EQA open
The date that EQA cases/information becomes available online to participants (and samples are dispatched, if appropriate).
EQA provider

An organisation offering external quality assessments e.g. GenQA or UK NEQAS. May also be known as a Proficiency Testing (PT) provider.

EQA year
The EQA year runs from April to the following March e.g. the 2022 season includes EQAs from 1st April 2022 - 31st March 2023.
Expert advisor

Experts in their respective fields who support and advise GenQA as Assessors, members of the relevant Specialist Advisory Group (SAG) and Scientific Advisory Board.  For more information go to https://genqa.org/work-with-us

FOPH
The Federal Office of Public Health Switzerland (FOPH) Protects public health, develops Swiss health policy and ensures an efficient and affordable healthcare system. All Swiss laboratories are required to participate in external quality assessment. Poor performing Swiss laboratories will be referred to FOPH.
Forms
Document to be completed by participants for data collection purposes e.g. variant classification form and data collection form, triplet repeat data, EQA submission form.
GenQA member

Any individual/laboratory/centre registered with GenQA, having access to the GenQA members area. Members must agree to the GenQA Terms and Conditions. Members are able to enrol in all GenQA EQAs or Individual Competency assessment. Members will also receive emails regarding GenQA activities.

For more information on becoming a GenQA member go to https://genqa.org/join.

GenQA members website
A secure website requiring individual logins to access purchase and participation in GenQA EQAs.
GenQA unique identifier
This is a unique number (Gxxxxx) provided to laboratories/centres at the point of registration with GenQA to maintain their anonymity. The unique number should be used in all correspondence with GenQA.
GenQA website user guide
The document providing instructions on how to use the GenQA members website.
Individual competency assessment
These are assessments provided for individuals to demonstrate their competency in performing certain tasks e.g. variant classification, sample reception, tissue macrodissection. For more information go to https://genqa.org/GTACT
Individual Laboratory or Centre Report
The Individual Laboratory/Centre Report (ILR/ICR) provides the scores, educational feedback and performnance status specific to the individual laboratory for each EQA. ILRs are designed to be stand alone, informative and easy to interpret. Participants will receive two ILRs for all EQAs (excluding pilots). The scores in the provisional ILR are subject to appeal. The final ILR is published after the appeals process and SAG review is completed.
Investigation
An investigation into the reasons (root causes) of poor performance in order to prevent recurrence.
Ledger
A running balance sheet of your invoices/statements, for accounting purposes.
Marking
Process where EQA submissions are assessed and scored by a team of experts.
Marking criteria
A set of defined criteria for each EQA against which submissions are assessed and scored. These include general marking criteria as well as EQA specific criteria.
Member
Any individual/laboratory/centre registered with GenQA, having access to the GenQA members area. Members must agree to the GenQA Terms and Conditions. Members are able to enrol in all GenQA EQAs or Individual Competency assessment. Members will also receive emails regarding GenQA activities.
Methodology
Specific methods used for a technology e.g. NGS platform/kit.
Mixed EQA
A mixed EQA is an EQA that comprises both physical sample testing, and online cases.
Multi-option EQA
EQAs including optional enrolment for techniques/cases. EQA where there are options at enrolment e.g. sample type or additional cases.
Non-submission

Defined as a participant failing to submit results without acceptable prior notification to GenQA. Non-submission may lead to a Poor Performance status for the EQA.  For more information go to https://genqa.org/performance-monitoring.

NQAAP
National Quality Assurance Advisory Panels (NQAAP) is the UK professional body recognised to have responsibility for ensuring consistent and uniform standards amongst reporting EQA Schemes. Within the UK this is the discipline specific National Quality Assurance Advisory Panels (NQAAP) within the Royal College of Pathologists. The NQAAPs are accountable to the QAPC (Quality Assurance in Pathology Committee).
Online EQA
An Online EQA is an EQA that requires the laboratory to engage with the online, configured content in order to create a submission report, or complete form submission activities. Online configured content can include images, PDFs, text and constraints.
Optional participation
Participants choosing not to participate in all cases due to limitation of laboratory scope. Decisions are made once cases are released.
Order statement or website invoice
A statement listing the EQAs, including cost, for which a participant is enrolled in any EQA year, which can be accessed through the members website. This includes information that will be on the official invoice. It is for information purposes only.
Orders
Provides details of your individual EQA orders.
Participant
Any laboratory/centre or individual which participates in a GenQA EQA or Individual competency assessment.
Performance

A measure of how a laboratory/centre performs in an EQA. Two performance categories are available: 1. Satisfactory performance; the standard a laboratory is expected to achieve. 2. Poor performance; where the standard is not achieved. For more information go to www.genqa.org/performance-monitoring.

Performance certificate
This live document is continuously updated with your laboratory/centre's EQA performance status as EQAs are completed during the year. It can be downloaded at any point by the Primary Contact.
Performance criteria
These are criteria that laboratories/centres are expected to attain to receive Satisfactory Performance status. These criteria include the thresholds for Poor Performance and Persistent Poor Performance. The criteria are agreed by the relevant Specialist Advisory Group and ratified by the UK National Quality Assessment Advisory Panel for Genetics (NQAAP). Performance criteria are valid for all EQAs offered under a particular genomic specialty.
Persistent poor performance

Participants are designated Persistant Poor Performers if they:

1) perform poorly in two out of any three consecutive EQA rounds OR

2) incur a poor performance within one year following a previous persistent poor performance designation.

For more information go to https://genqa.org/performance-monitoring.

Pilot
GenQA continually implements new EQAs in response to the advancement of genomic testing. These new EQAs are initially offered in pilot phase. Participants will receive an ILR for a pilot EQA, but performance status will not be provided as performance criteria are not yet defined. See www.genqa.org/pilot-eqa for more information www.genqa.org/pilot-eqa
Poor performance
Participants are designated a Poor Performer if they receive a Critical error for either analysis/genotyping or interpretation in any EQA.
Poor performance investigation
This is an investigation into the reasons (root causes) of poor performance in order to prevent recurrence.
Poor performance Investigation form
A form completed by a participant to document their investigation into their poor performance.
Primary contact
This is the designated person who is the main contact for a laboratory/centre. The Primary Contact can enrol in EQAs, submit results and amend laboratory contacts, receive information regarding appeals and poor performance. Unless a separate Bill Payer is stipulated, the Primary Contact will also receive all GenQA invoices.
Proficiency testing provider

An organisation offering external quality assessments e.g. GenQA or UK NEQAS. May also be known as an EQA provider.

Quality Assurance
A continuous process for the identification and implementation of best practice and the determination of effective governance and sharing of information.
Registration
The process by which an individual or laboratory/centre becomes a member of GenQA.
Results
The performance feedback (EQA results) provided by GenQA after marking of EQA submissions. This may include scores and comments which are documented in the ILR/ICR.
Round
Most GenQA EQAs have a single distribution (round) per year. However, some EQAs have multiple rounds whereby participants receive multiple samples/cases throughout the year. Each round is independent and requires a separate submission.
Sample EQA
A Sample EQA is an EQA that requires the laboratory to test GenQA provided samples in the laboratory in order to create a submission report, or complete form submission activities. These are currently presented across both the Scheme activities (as the traditional way these were run), and within TACT/Axiom Online.
Scientific advisory board

GenQA Scientific Advisory Board consists of the Chairs of the different Specialist Advisory Groups,  invited experts, the GenQA Director, Deputy Directors and the Quality Manager.  For more information go to https://genqa.org/governance

Scores
The performance scores/deductions awarded during assessment are provided in the ILR/ICR for each case of an EQA.
Secondary contact or employees
Each laboratory/centre can have multiple laboratory staff registered within their GenQA account. These staff cannot enrol in EQAs or submit EQA results, however these additional roles can be assigned by the Primary Contact.
Sequential EQA
A staged EQA e.g. Clinical genetics. One part must be completed before next part is released.
Specialist Advisory Group or SAG

Every EQA specialty is overseen by a group composed of experts in the relevant field and GenQA staff. Each SAG agrees the EQAs to be offered and ratifies Appeals and Poor Performance.   For more information go to https://genqa.org/governance

Specialty

A group of scientifically related EQAs e.g. Molecular Pathology, Preimplantation Genetic Testing.

Statements
Each line represents the itemised information used when preparing invoices and may cover multiple orders.
Submission
The results submitted for an EQA by a laboratory/centre for assessment by GenQA. These can be in the form of clinical/diagnostic laboratory reports, NGS data files, proformas or online data submissions.
Techniques
A broad technology e.g. NGS.
Terms and Conditions

The document governing the contractual relationship between GenQA and its members. Members must agree to the Terms and Conditions annually before being able to access to GenQA members website.

Tissue-i

Tissue-I is the GenQA platform for providing individual competency assessment for macrodissection of a selection of different tissue types.

UK NEQAS

UK National External Quality Assessment Service (UK NEQAS) is a consortium of EQA providers across different laboratory disciplines, of which GenQA is a member.

UKAS
United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the national accreditation body for the UK, appointed by government to assess and accredit organisations that provide services including EQA providers (ISO 17043).
Unique identifier
This is a unique number (Gxxxxx) provided to laboratories/centres at the point of registration with GenQA to maintain their anonymity. The unique number should be used in all correspondence with GenQA.
Validation
This is the process by which GenQA confirms the results of EQA samples/cases prior to using them in an EQA. This is usually performed by at least two independent laboratories/centres using different methodologies (where appropriate).
Website user guide
The document providing instructions on how to use the GenQA members website.
Withdrawal
Withdrawal is defined as a laboratory/centre no longer wishing to participate in an EQA. A laboratory can elect to withdraw at any time. GenQA must be informed of the withdrawal. Any participant wishing to withdraw from an EQA must complete the GenQA EQA Withdrawal Request form and email to info@genqa.org prior to the EQA opening. For more information refer to GenQA Withdrawal Policy.