Experience Our New Proficiency Testing Portal

Ensuring trust and confidence through accurate results. Every time!

Proficiency Testing (PT) is the name used by the International Standards Organization for a procedure also known as “inter-laboratory study” or “external quality assessment” or “ring test”. Proficiency testing, in simple terms, comprises a sample sent to a group of laboratories for measurement. The labs know what might be in the sample, but they don’t know exactly what is there or the concentration. Their results are compared with the known or true value and the lab is assigned a “Z” score to show how closely their result came to the target.

The most common use for proficiency testing is to demonstrate to a regulatory body or an accreditation body that a laboratory is capable and competent to perform a specific analytical test or use a technology. A second and sometimes overlooked benefit of proficiency testing is as a critical tool for quality assurance and continuous improvement. Proficiency testing performed over time can give a laboratory a true picture of their testing quality, it can help a laboratory identify and realize continual improvement opportunities and can actually help a laboratory avoid nonconforming tests.

PT samples have specific analytes of interest, spiked in a particular matrix, in a concentration unknown to the participant. PT samples are fully tested and characterized by the provider prior to shipment. Each PT sample is supplied to the participant with a reporting packet which contains all of the critical information needed to perform the test such as the date range in which the test will be performed, instructions on how to report the data, any preparation or handling instructions, and the analyte ranges for the sample.

Our CRMs are released through ISO 17025 and ISO 17034 accredited labs and we also offer an ISO 17043 accredited PT program. We produce environmental PT, pharmaceutical PT and technology-based PT in several types of matrices, including neat materials, wastewater, drinking water, soil/sediment and air. PTs in a wastewater matrix are generally at higher levels similar to discharge samples while drinking water PTs are generally at lower ranges to mimic surface water and drinking water samples. PTs offered in a soil/sediment matrix vary and can include items such as petroleum compounds, metals or PCBs in the ranges that laboratories expect to see in polluted soils. An air PT may contain many of the same analytes that are in the water and soil samples but in impinger solution, on filter paper, PUF cartridges, air canisters or sorbent tubes. Pharmaceutical PTs are usually performed to demonstrate competency to USP general chapters and are generally neat materials. Technology PTs are used to prove competence to a specified technology, such as titration, pH, Karl Fischer, or Residue on Ignition.

Merck released a new PT portal in 2018 that has been streamlined and offers superior speed, ease of use, and data handling. We are committed to updating and providing a user interface that is efficient, simple and something that meets the evolving needs of the end user. The result is our new data-entry portal which is easy to learn, easy to remember and easy to use.

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