Enhancing Confidence and Credibility of Drug Testing Results with DefendableTM Independent Accuracy Monitoring
Court-ordered drug tests are conducted daily for various reasons, from probation and incarceration sentencings to family courts deliberating child custody battles. Drug testing laboratories play a central role in supporting courts to satisfy legal matters by offering scientific insight into an individual’s drug use, addiction, and abusive behavior. As a beneficial tool that helps the criminal justice system deliver fair and informed verdicts based on scientific results, the validity of laboratory diagnostics greatly depends on the confidence of the courts in the accuracy and reliability of the diagnostic results.
High numbers of inconclusive responses in diagnostic test results reveal lower proficiency levels of drug testing laboratories, resulting in guilt going undetected or wrongful conviction of innocent. Although criminal justice laboratories conduct daily internal quality control, independent (external) quality checks allow interlaboratory performance comparison. Proficiency tests are
Defendable™ program is an accredited provider of independent proficiency testing services to drug testing laboratories. The proficiency testing program offers an unprecedented breadth of external testing to evaluate the appropriateness of testing processes, maintenance, and calibration of test equipment according to pre-established standards. Having an outside proficiency testing program evaluate laboratory testing processes, practices, and findings helps establish the reliability of results. With the Defendable™ program, criminal justice laboratories are confident with their results. When an external program compares the performance
l of an individual laboratory with its peers and arrives at similar findings and conclusions, it affirms the reliability. Dependable™ proficiency testing program sets quality standards for independent drug court laboratory accuracy assessment. It serves as a core entity in the efforts to enhance and maintain the quality of services offered by the criminal justice system. Defendable™ program draws attention to a comprehensive scheme of testing technical controls and processes, equipment setup, and calibration, with a customization option for both large and small laboratories.
Quality Check for Testing Equipment
Testing equipment has an immense influence on the accuracy of drug test results. When the testing equipment is not calibrated correctly, it results in false-negative and false-positive, rendered as inaccurate drug test results with severe implications for people’s jobs and reputations. Inaccurate results are inadmissible in a trial due to their invalidity. Calibration error is a significant source of inconsistency and inaccuracy of drug test results. Storing reagents at the wrong temperatures or using those with past expiration dates frequently leads to inaccurate results (false positives and false negatives). To maximize accuracy, proficiency testing programs provide robust quality checks that promote accuracy.
ABS’s Defendable™ program provides an independent laboratory performance evaluation by ensuring testing equipment is calibrated to deliver accurate diagnostic results seamlessly. Defendable™ performs an independent assessment to ensure testing equipment is labeled to show the calibration status. Standard operating procedure constitutes the range of laboratory procedures that the Defendable program evaluates to ensure the measurement’s accuracy, reliability, and integrity. Calibrations are assessed based on using instruments according to specifications, maintaining calibration schedules for all equipment, and providing a certificate of calibration. Notably, schedules of calibrations are performed based on reference to national standards, manufacturer recommendations, and time intervals. External examination of calibration limits is associated with measuring values and their correspondence with acceptable standard limits.
Other calibration errors that can lead to reagent issues include insufficient manufacturer instructions for novice drug laboratory technicians, resulting in the improper calibration of test equipment. Defendable™ program performs regular checks on testing equipment to ensure that the performance continues to be acceptable. Up-to-date instructions on the use of testing equipment should be readily available for use by laboratory personnel.
Maintaining the Integrity of the Drug Testing Process
Defendable™ is a third-party program drug testing laboratories adopt to perform external periodic checks of their drug testing process. Crime laboratories are obliged to establish drug testing standards and procedures verified by independent quality assurance programs, guaranteeing the validity of diagnostic results. Defendable™ proficiency testing program reviews testing processes to ensure drug testing processes comply with the established technical and scientific standards.
All laboratory drug testing processes may be subject to errors, and studies have indicated that errors in the laboratory can potentially happen in any of all the phases of a diagnostic procedure. Dependable™ program considers all the key phases of the drug testing process, from sample collection and analysis to the interpretation and reporting of the diagnostic outcome. Independent proficiency test of the entire test process provides valuable information on whether the test process used by a drug testing laboratory is conforming or non-conforming. Conformity assessment
Benefits of ABS Defendable™ to Individual Drug Testing Laboratories
- The participating laboratories are offered a periodic and independent performance assessment to implement the best available methods with higher accuracy and lower error rates.
- The drug testing lab can use the proficiency test outcome to identify problems in testing processes and calibration and initiate appropriate remedial action.
- Facilitates interlaboratory comparisons to determine the accuracy and reliability of peer-peer laboratories’ testing procedures.
- Criminal justice laboratories gain confidence about the admissibility and validity of the diagnostic test result as expert evidence used in courts.
As the name suggests, the Defendable™ program is core to the integrity and trustworthiness of lab drug test results in courts because it establishes drug test findings as scientifically reliable, consistent, and admissible. Alternative Biomedical Solutions Defendable™ is readily adaptable and applicable to drug testing laboratories to ensure accurate and reliable test results. It provides a user-friendly and cost-effective independent checklist of laboratory quality standards. Criminal justice laboratories can use this proficiency testing program according to their time frame, recourses, and readiness. The benefit of the Defendable™ proficiency testing program is that it serves as a means of periodic check of drug test laboratory performance and shows commitment to enhancing quality, improving testing instrument performance, and minimizing uncertainty associated with the validity of the diagnostic outcome.
The need to foster confidence in drug laboratory performance is essential not only for courts and the public but also for regulatory and accreditation institutions that pre-establish specific laboratory standards and requirements. The growing need for independent proficiency testing illustrates the critical role of the Defendable™ program in evaluating the effectiveness of specific calibrations and measurements, as well as assessing the conformity of the entire testing process, enhancing the accuracy of the diagnostic results. Alternative Biomedical Solutions Defendable™ success story and popularity across individual drug testing laboratories of all sizes is ever-growing as they take advantage of its dependable quality control program that is scientifically based. Drug testing laboratories should consider the independent expert opinion and solutions offered by Alternative Biomedical Solutions Defendable™ to ensure they operate at the peak of efficiency to deliver trusted and reliable diagnostic results.