Certification of New Testing Staff
Once a new trainee has completed training to the satisfaction of the quality assurance lead, they must test a certification panel of blinded specimens to complete their training. A certification panel is a series of six sample tests. Certification panels are not the same as positive/negative quality controls or Proficiency Testing panels. They are prepared by the Institute for Quality Management in Health (IQMH) solely for the purpose of assessing newly trained testers and certifying them to deliver POC testing.
Certification panels can be ordered through the HIV Rapid Test Program Inventory Management portal. Sites are asked to order panels only as-needed and not to pre-order panels for longer-term storage. Panels should be ordered no earlier than 4 months prior to use.
The trainee must test the samples according to the package instructions. The results are submitted to the AIDS and Hepatitis C Program, who will notify sites about the outcome of the certification testing and provide certificates for successful trainees.
While other training resources may often by used by existing staff to refresh their knowledge, certification panels need only be done once immediately following initial training. If an existing employee has an extended absence of more than a year, they should be trained and certified again.
Records of certification testing, and other continuing education should be maintained in staff personnel files.
Storage of Certification Panels – Panels are shipped frozen and can be stored frozen for approximately one year. If thawed, they can be stored in refrigeration for 3 months at 2-8º C. If panels arrive thawed, they should be refrozen immediately.