Human health sciences :: General & internal medicine and Sciences de la santé humaine :: Médecine générale & interne
Technology that enables communication between information systems has recently become cheaper and more powerful. It is therefore timely to consider the effects of the introduction of such techniques in external quality assessment (EQA) schemes on both users and organizers. Traditionally, results are returned to EQA organizers as hand-written numbers on structured forms. These data are then manually entered into a computer. The process is time-consuming, slow (as it depends on the postal service), prone to error at every transcription stage, and expensive, as clerical staff must be employed to input the data. Computer-to-computer communication allows this process to be improved. A telematics system for electronic data interchange has been developed for the Belgian EQA programme and it offers several advantages, such as the use of standardized semantics, expression of results in laboratory familiar units, possible interface with the Laboratory Information System, faster data analysis, shorter report time and long-term performance evaluation.