Quality assurance and AMR surveillance


Microbiology laboratories need to produce test results that are timely, accurate, precise and reliable. Maintaining a high-quality standard in a laboratory is essential in order for doctors, veterinarians, and public health officials to have confidence in the test results the laboratory produces. In antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance, there is the additional challenge of ensuring that data generated in different sectors can be compared or interpreted with reference to other sectors.

In this module, you will learn about the key principles underlying laboratory quality, and the processes a laboratory puts in place to ensure that it operates to a consistently high standard and generates good-quality and reliable data. You will probably be familiar with many of the terms used in the context of quality, and even if you aren’t, many of them may sound similar, for example, ‘quality control’, ‘quality assurance’, and ‘quality management system’.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • explain the importance of data integrity and quality in laboratory practice in the AMR surveillance context
  • outline quality assurance measures in the context of AMR surveillance
  • describe the key components of laboratory practice that underpin the quality testing and analysis of antibiotic resistance data
  • recognise that your role is an integral part of the AMR surveillance process and that you are responsible for managing quality standards in the workplace
  • reflect on the different components of a quality management system and how they are applied in your workplace, and what improvements could be made to ensure that your workplace is obtaining, recording and reporting good quality data.

Activity 1: Assessing your skills and knowledge

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Before you begin this module, you should take a moment to think about the learning outcomes and how confident you feel about your knowledge and skills in these areas. Do not worry if you do not feel very confident in some skills – they may be areas that you are hoping to develop by studying these modules.

Now use the interactive tool to rate your confidence in these areas using the following scale:

  • 5 Very confident
  • 4 Confident
  • 3 Neither confident nor not confident
  • 2 Not very confident
  • 1 Not at all confident

This is for you to reflect on your own knowledge and skills you already have.

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1 The importance of data integrity and data quality