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Concept: Quality control


As a component of the practice-based core competency of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, all residents must receive training to be able to evaluate and improve their patient care practices. To further enhance our overall resident quality improvement (QI) educational experience, and to ensure resident involvement in the many aspects of a quality assurance program, we have established a resident educational leadership role and have appointed a resident as resident QI director.

Concepts: Better, Improve, Quality control, Physician, Management, Quality assurance, Medical school, Teacher


Our ability to predict species responses to environmental changes relies on accurate records of animal movement patterns. Continental-scale acoustic telemetry networks are increasingly being established worldwide, producing large volumes of information-rich geospatial data. During the last decade, the Integrated Marine Observing System’s Animal Tracking Facility (IMOS ATF) established a permanent array of acoustic receivers around Australia. Simultaneously, IMOS developed a centralised national database to foster collaborative research across the user community and quantify individual behaviour across a broad range of taxa. Here we present the database and quality control procedures developed to collate 49.6 million valid detections from 1891 receiving stations. This dataset consists of detections for 3,777 tags deployed on 117 marine species, with distances travelled ranging from a few to thousands of kilometres. Connectivity between regions was only made possible by the joint contribution of IMOS infrastructure and researcher-funded receivers. This dataset constitutes a valuable resource facilitating meta-analysis of animal movement, distributions, and habitat use, and is important for relating species distribution shifts with environmental covariates.

Concepts: Developed country, Quality control, Tracking, Process control, Geospatial, Wireless locating


Assessment of the quality of included studies is an essential component of any systematic review. A formal quality assessment is facilitated by using a structured tool. There are currently no guidelines available for researchers wanting to develop a new quality assessment tool.

Concepts: Evaluation, Quality, Quality control, Quality assurance, Object-oriented programming, Tool


The purpose of the quality standards document is to provide healthcare professionals, commissioners, service providers and patients with a guide to standards of care that should be met for the provision of acute non-invasive ventilation in adults together with measurable markers of good practice.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Medical terms, Patient, Quality control, Management, Service, Service provider


Small molecules that modulate the unfolded protein response have the potential to treat a variety of human protein misfolding diseases.

Concepts: Protein, Protein folding, Quality control, Management


Adaptive radiation therapy (ART) aims at compensating for anatomic and pathological changes to improve delivery along a treatment fraction sequence. Current ART protocols require time-consuming manual updating of all volumes of interest on the images acquired during treatment. Deformable image registration (DIR) and contour propagation stand as a state of the ART method to automate the process, but the lack of DIR quality control methods hinder an introduction into clinical practice. We investigated the scale invariant feature transform (SIFT) method as a quantitative automated tool (1) for DIR evaluation and (2) for re-planning decision-making in the framework of ART treatments. As a preliminary test, SIFT invariance properties at shape-preserving and deformable transformations were studied on a computational phantom, granting residual matching errors below the voxel dimension. Then a clinical dataset composed of 19 head and neck ART patients was used to quantify the performance in ART treatments. For the goal (1) results demonstrated SIFT potential as an operator-independent DIR quality assessment metric. We measured DIR group systematic residual errors up to 0.66 mm against 1.35 mm provided by rigid registration. The group systematic errors of both bony and all other structures were also analyzed, attesting the presence of anatomical deformations. The correct automated identification of 18 patients who might benefit from ART out of the total 22 cases using SIFT demonstrated its capabilities toward goal (2) achievement.

Concepts: Medicine, Evaluation, Measurement, Quality control, Management, Head and neck cancer, Observational error, Scale-invariant feature transform


The assessment of the capacity of antivenoms to neutralize the lethal activity of snake venoms is the gold standard in the preclinical analysis of antivenom efficacy, and is routinely performed by manufacturers and quality control laboratories. However, the complexity of snake venom composition and toxicological profile demands that, for many venoms, such as those of viperid snakes and some elapids, the neutralization of lethality be complemented with the analysis of the neutralization of other relevant toxic activities, such as hemorrhagic, myotoxic, necrotizing, procoagulant and defibrinogenating effects. This expanded protocol for preclinical testing of antivenoms should be used when a new antivenom is developed or when an existing antivenom is introduced in a new geographical setting for the neutralization of either homologous or heterologous venoms. In recent years, the assessment of the immunological reactivity of antivenoms has been enriched by the use of proteomic tools, with a methodology named ‘antivenomics’. This allows the identification of venom components to which antivenoms have, or lack, antibodies, and thus complements the data gathered in neutralization tests, paving the way for a knowledge-based improvement of antivenom design and efficacy. International projects involving participants of manufacturing, quality control and academic research groups should be promoted in order to gain a deeper understanding on the preclinical neutralizing spectrum of antivenoms.

Concepts: Quality control, Viperidae, Venom, Snake, Snakes, Neutralization, Neutral, Antivenom


BACKGROUND: Telomeres, the protective cap of chromosomes, have emerged as powerful markers of biological age and life history in model and non-model species. The qPCR method for telomere length estimation is one of the most common methods for telomere length estimation, but has received recent critique for being too error-prone and yielding unreliable results. This critique coincides with an increasing awareness of the potentials and limitations of the qPCR technique in general and the proposal of a general set of guidelines (MIQE) for standardization of experimental, analytical, and reporting steps of qPCR. In order to evaluate the utility of the qPCR method for telomere length estimation in non-model species, we carried out four different qPCR assays directed at humpback whale telomeres, and subsequently performed a rigorous quality control to evaluate the performance of each assay. RESULTS: Performance differed substantially among assays and only one assay was found useful for telomere length estimation in humpback whales. The most notable factors causing these inter-assay differences were primer design and choice of using singleplex or multiplex assays. Inferred amplification efficiencies differed by up to 40 % depending on assay and quantification method, however this variation only affected telomere length estimates in the worst performing assays. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that seemingly well performing qPCR assays may contain biases that will only be detected by extensive quality control. Moreover, we show that the qPCR method for telomere length estimation can be highly precise and accurate, and thus suitable for telomere measurement in non-model species, if effort is devoted to optimization at all experimental and analytical steps. We conclude by highlighting a set of quality controls which may serve for further standardization of the qPCR method for telomere length estimation, and discuss some of the factors that may cause variation in qPCR experiments.

Concepts: DNA, Quality control, DNA replication, Telomere, Whale, Humpback whale, Whale surfacing behaviour, Whale watching


Reviewers play a key role in science, although studies suggest the current peer-reviewing system has faults. We propose to introduce a quality control system to evaluate each journal’s review process, and produce a Review Quality Index. We propose four schemes that have the potential to reduce errors in a key step in scientific decision making: the reviewing process.

Concepts: Scientific method, Quality control, Management, Control theory, Peer review, Process control, Control system, Control engineering


: Quality management systems are, as a rule, tightly defined systems that conserve existing processes and therefore guarantee compliance with quality standards. But maintaining quality also includes introducing new enhanced production methods and making use of the latest findings of bioscience. The advances in biotechnology and single-use manufacturing methods for producing new drugs especially impose new challenges on quality management, as quality standards have not yet been set. New methods to ensure patient safety have to be established, as it is insufficient to rely only on current rules. A concept of qualification, validation, and manufacturing procedures based on risk management needs to be established and realized in pharmaceutical production. The chapter starts with an introduction to the regulatory background of the manufacture of medicinal products. It then continues with key methods of risk management. Hazards associated with the production of medicinal products with single-use equipment are described with a focus on bioreactors, storage containers, and connecting devices. The hazards are subsequently evaluated and criteria for risk evaluation are presented. This chapter concludes with aspects of industrial application of quality risk management.

Concepts: Risk, Biotechnology, Quality control, Management, Risk management, Quality assurance, Production and manufacturing, Quality management system