Know When to Escalate Calibration Failures

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Calibration of Clinical Laboratory Analytes. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Know When to Escalate Calibration Failures

Sometimes, the root cause of failures cannot be identified based on the troubleshooting techniques described previously. Documentation of the failure and determining an escalation plan is outlined below.

  • Document all troubleshooting and analysis.
  • Ask other technical staff for review and any other troubleshooting ideas that may not have been considered.
    • Fellow laboratory staff have a wealth of knowledge; troubleshooting together helps improve intra-laboratory communication and comradery and can bring up solutions that others have found to work.
  • Know when to call technical support from the manufacturer.
    • The instrument manufacturer may have other troubleshooting options that may not have been considered.
    • The instrument may have a mechanical problem that only the manufacturer can address.
  • Most importantly, an inaccurate result is worse than no result.
    • If the problem cannot be resolved within a timeframe that won't affect patient testing, it is essential to develop a strategy with laboratory management to delay testing until failures can be resolved and patient testing can resume.