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July 11, 1986

Quality Assurance for Office Laboratories-Reply

Author Affiliations

The Oregon Health Sciences University
Veterans Administration Medical Center Portland, Ore

JAMA. 1986;256(2):211-212. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380020073011

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In Reply.—  Dr Pitts raises two important issues in his letter concerning quality assurance for office laboratories. The first concerns the professional responsibility of the office practitioner-laboratory director for the reliability of test results produced by that laboratory and used in patient care. We must point out that the practitioner will be professionally responsible for erroneous results used in patient care if these involve injury to a patient. Consequently, taking laboratory test analysis into the office requires that clinicians develop a new range of understanding so they can respond to plaintiffs' questions concerning whether particular analyses were functioning properly at the time the result was produced and whether the result was produced from a specimen that actually came from the patient. This involves more than the dreary trappings of laboratory quality control but, rather, an understanding of the issues and problems underlying the development of such programs.The second important