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Clin Biochem Rev. 2007 Aug;28(3):105-13.

The Joint Committee for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (JCTLM): a global approach to promote the standardisation of clinical laboratory test results.

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Global Scientific Affairs, Abbott Diagnostics, Abbott Park, IL 60064, USA.


Clinical laboratories are moving towards global standardisation to produce equivalent test results across space and time. Standardisation allows use of evidence-based medicine, eliminates the need of method-specific reference intervals, decision levels and cut-offs, and can be achieved by application of metrological principles. For example, in vitro diagnostics (IVD) manufacturers can make kit calibrators traceable to internationally recognised reference materials and reference methods. The first step towards standardisation is to identify appropriate reference materials and methods. This has been undertaken by a new international consortium, the Joint Committee for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (JCTLM), formed in 2002. It brings together experts representing the clinical laboratory profession, government agencies, and manufacturers, to promote international comparability, reliability, and equivalence of measurement results in clinical laboratories for the purpose of improving healthcare. Through the efforts of the JCTLM, manufacturers are able to assign values to kit calibrators with consistency using appropriate higher order reference materials and methods, and traceability flowcharts, according to ISO Standards to ensure accuracy of test results and to promote assay performance harmonisation. Users of assay kits can assess suitability of calibrators on the basis of acceptable reference materials and/or methods identified by the JCTLM. The JCTLM exemplifies the dynamic nature of clinical laboratory medicine, the inherent spirit of cooperation among professionals in this scientific field, and the international desire to strive for the highest level of clinical laboratory practice for the benefit of patients.


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