Ann Lab Med.  2021 Mar;41(2):230-239. 10.3343/alm.2021.41.2.230.

Schemes and Performance Evaluation Criteria of Korean Association of External Quality Assessment (KEQAS) for Improving Laboratory Testing

  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Inje University, Ilsan Paik Hospital, Goyang, Korea
  • 2Department of Laboratory Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital and College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea
  • 3Department of Laboratory Medicine and Genetics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Laboratory Medicine and Genetics, Soonchunhyang University Bucheon Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon, Korea
  • 5Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea


External quality assessment (EQA) is important for evaluating clinical laboratories and enhancing their testing quality. EQA schemes are variable; thus, it is crucial that the EQA organizers share their experiences to continuously improve the EQA scheme. The Korean Association of External Quality Assessment Service (KEQAS) has been the leading, authorized EQA institute for the standardization and quality management of laboratory testing in Korean medical institutions since 1976. The EQA scheme underwent a major change in 2016, and the number of EQA programs increased significantly since then. The key changes implemented in EQA scheme include a fully computerized assessment to accelerate feedback and unification of the testing and reporting methods. We provide an overview of the EQA schemes and performance evaluation criteria of the KEQAS and suggest directions for achieving the global harmonization of EQA.


Korean Association of External Quality Assessment Service (KEQAS); Performance; Evaluation; Laboratory testing; Schemes; Quality; Harmonization


  • Fig. 1 Flow diagram of performance evaluation for (A) qualitative and (B) semi-quantitative tests in the KEQAS EQA scheme. Abbreviations: KEQAS, Korean Association of External Quality Assessment Service; EQA, external quality assessment.

  • Fig. 2 Examples of the EQA reports of the KEQAS. (A) Participant evaluation report and (B) participants’ summary. Abbreviations: KEQAS, Korean Association of External Quality Assessment Service; EQA, external quality assessment.

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