Assessing the Proficiency of Testing at a POC Testing Site

Rapid testing sites are required to regularly evaluate the testing materials they use. In addition, sites evaluate staff efficacy  and monitor procedures and practices regularly.  Staff competency and knowledge of appropriate procedures is supported by the training resources available on this site.

A key responsibility of the Quality Assurance Lead is to monitor site procedures and practices. The following quality assessments are required at each site: 

Proficiency Testing

The AIDS and Hepatitis C Program has established a Proficiency Testing (PT) Program. The program is administered by the Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare (IQMH). Your site will receive blinded panels of samples from IQMH twice yearly (March and October), to test and return for assessment. These samples will be sent directly from IQMH and do not need to be ordered by sites. There are four vials of samples. Each vial contains enough sample to permit five staff to test. Each of the staff who provide testing for clients at your site should participate in the proficiency testing program.

When PT results have been analyzed, they will be available to your site’s Quality Assurance Lead through IQMH’s secure web portal known as Qview. If you do not have a log-in for this portal contact AIDS and Hepatitis C Program staff. AIDS and Hepatitis C Program staff monitor the outcomes of this testing, to ensure that errors are investigated, and corrective action is taken, as needed.

Parallel Testing

Every time a reactive test occurs, clients are advised to confirm the result through standard testing conducted by the Public Health Laboratory of Ontario. Analysis of this additional testing helps to confirm the quality of testing at the POC site. Performing two types of tests on samples from the same client is called parallel testing. Parallel testing may also occur when a client who has a non-reactive POC test early in the window period, chooses to submit a sample for PHOL testing. 

The QA Lead should be informed whenever follow-up testing on a reactive rapid test is non-reactive or when a negative sample submitted for PHOL testing in the window period has a reactive result. False negatives and false positives are part of the monthly summary report done by the QA Lead about testing. The monthly summary report is a key opportunity to reflect on the accuracy and proficiency of testing at the testing site. Learn more about these monthly assessments.  

Notify the HIV and Hepatitis C Program if:    

  • >1% of POC tests were falsely reactive in one month of testing
  • >1% of POC tests were invalid in one month of testing