IEQAS Program helps improve diagnosis worldwide

Correct diagnosis is essential to ensure that people with bleeding disorders receive appropriate treatment and care. In 2004, the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) launched the International External Quality Assessment Scheme (IEQAS) program to monitor and improve laboratory performance in hemophilia treatment centres (HTCs) worldwide. The scheme is operated by the United Kingdom National External Quality Assessment Scheme for Blood Coagulation (UK NEQAS BC), based in Sheffield, U.K.

The mandate of the WFH IEQAS program is to provide an external quality assessment (EQA) for blood coagulation tests and to promote high standards of performance and practice in laboratories around the world. EQA, together with internal quality control procedures, are vital components of overall laboratory quality assurance. The WFH IEQAS program provides advisory support to participants through email exchanges, Q&A sessions, and, when feasible and recommended, lab site visits.

The IEQAS Q&A meeting—which typically takes place at WFH World Congress—was held virtually in March 2021. With over 50 registrants from more than 30 countries, the event was a resounding success.

Steve Kitchen, Chair of the WFH IEQAS Committee, opened the meeting with an overview of the objectives of IEQAS, recent changes made to the program, and future plans, which include the addition of more tests in the scheme to meet the needs of centres offering different therapies.

Next, Ian Jennings, Programme Manager at UK NEQAS BC, spoke about plans for improving performance analysis in the IEQAS Program. Jennings reviewed the current systems used for assessing laboratory performance in the program and discussed other possible performance assessment tools.

Photos stills from WFH Lab Manual videos

Anna Lowe, Scientific Lead for Haemophilia Programs at UK NEQAS BC, presented an overview of the results from the FVIII inhibitor exercise completed by participating centres in 2020.

Dianne Kitchen, Programme Biomedical Scientist at UK NEQAS BC, shared the results of the 2020 WFH IEQAS Participant’s Questionnaire. Nearly 50% of participating centres—69 in total—responded to the questionnaire. The findings showed that 7,171 people were newly diagnosed with a bleeding disorder during the period of January 2018 to December 2019. This included people diagnosed with hemophilia, von Willebrand disease (VWD), and other rare bleeding disorders.

“We are very grateful for this program, as it has been of great benefit to keep us updated on quality assurance issues in the coagulation area,” one Q&A meeting participant remarked.

The program has grown considerably since its launch in 2004; currently, there are 140 participating centres from 81 countries. By helping to improve diagnostic capacity around the world, the WFH IEQAS Program directly contributes to WFH’s vision of Treatment for All.

For more information about the WFH IEQAS Program, please click here.

The WFH IEQAS program is supported by funding from the Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation.