On 8 November 2016, KWR received the participants in its proficiency tests. The attendance was high: more than 60 participants from environmental labs, water labs, and the laboratories of waterboards, hospitals and food-processing companies were present. Proficiency tests, in which different laboratories need to analyse samples with the exact same compositions, are an important instrument in the harmonisation of (environmental) measurements; they enable the laboratories to compare their own results with those of other participating labs. Based on an evaluation of their own results, they can then further optimise their own quality if necessary. The participants scored the quality of KWR’s proficiency tests with a strong ‘8’.
New software and improved statistics
During the morning session, the improvements to be introduced in the software and statistics in the 2017 annual programme were presented. There was a strong positive response to the new, more user-friendly, software, which will also allow the participants, beginning in 2017, to register directly for a specific proficiency test. The software can be more flexibly adjusted for specific proficiency tests, and makes it easier for test participants to transmit their measurement data to KWR. The statistical results that KWR feeds back to the participants on their individual performance at the conclusion of the proficiency tests will be, starting next year, more targeted on their usability in the evaluation of the labs’ own results which each company can carry out with KWR’s data.
Evaluation of own results
In the afternoon session the evaluation of the labs’ own results was an important subject of discussion. In two groups, one for participants in the chemical proficiency tests and one for those in the microbiology proficiency tests, the way in which individual companies deal with the information KWR feeds back to them on their individual performance was discussed. Suggestions concerning the parameters employed in the proficiency testing were also made, both in terms of the concentrations provided as well as the target substances and microorganisms to be measured. As a result it is probable that serotyping of Legionella will also be included. In conclusion, a tour was made of the different KWR labs. Not only the proficiency tests, but also this information exchange were scored positively by the participants who filled out the evaluation form at the end of the meeting. KWR will probably organise another information meeting in 2018, but in the meantime, of course, any questions and suggestions will always be welcomed by the experts concerned!