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On Infection Prevention & Control

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Quality Control for COVID-19 Tests


Robert Campbell, PharmD, director, clinical standards interpretation for hospital/ambulatory programs

Editor’s Note: This blog post is part of The Joint Commission’s daily communication on issues relevant to organizations managing the COVID-19 pandemic. The full list of FAQs is available here. All examples are for illustrative purposes only.

During the COVID-19 emergency, external quality control for COVID-19 tests may be performed less frequently than The Joint Commission and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) normally require.  

Quality control for COVID-19 testing must be performed at least as frequently as stated in the manufacturer’s package insert. An individual quality control plan (IQCP) is not required at this time.

After the emergency is resolved and the Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) are rescinded, laboratories MUST return to the full frequency required for quality control by Joint Commission standards and CLIA regulations.

Robert Campbell, PharmD, is director, Clinical Standards Interpretation Hospital/Ambulatory Programs and director, Medication Management. Prior to these roles, he served as the pharmacist for Clinical Standards Interpretation in the Division of Healthcare Improvement at The Joint Commission. Campbell also surveys as a field representative for The Joint Commission in the Hospital Accreditation and Critical Access Hospital Accreditation Programs and is a reviewer in the Medication Compounding Certification Program. Prior to joining The Joint Commission, Campbell worked in health care organizations and held leadership positions with oversight responsibilities for performance improvement, accreditation readiness, risk management, infection control, medical staff services, as well as inpatient and outpatient pharmacy services.