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Measurement uncertainty (MU) estimates can be used by clinicians in result interpretation for diagnosis and monitoring and by laboratories in assessing assay fitness for use and analytical troubleshooting. However, MU is not routinely used to assess the appropriateness of the analyte reporting interval.We describe the relationship between MU and the analyte reporting interval.
Methods and results:
The reporting interval R is the smallest unit of measurement chosen for clinical reporting. When choosing the appropriate value for R, it is necessary that the reference change values and expanded MU values can be meaningfully calculated. Expanded MU provides the tighter criterion for defining an upper limit for R. This limit can be determined as R4k SDa/1.9, where SDa is the analytical standard deviation and k is the coverage factor (usually 2).
Using MU estimates to determine the reporting interval for quantitative laboratory results ensures that reporting practices match local analytical performance and recognizes the inherent error of the measurement process.