The average and the individual II – Quality and Quest Diagnostics

crimeI have argued for some time that individual results as well as averages are important in evaluating diagnostic assays. EP21, a CLSI standard on total error and EP27, a new standard (not yet available) on error grids are useful in providing analysis of individual as well as average results.

Apparently, Quest Diagnostics does not agree but has paid the price – 302 million dollars and pleading guilty to felony misbranding. The press releases are here and here.

I have previously blogged about Quest Diagnostics about fake news (the source for that is here).

This is from the Quest mission statement:


The patient comes first in everything we do. We strive to provide every patient and every customer with services and products of uncompromising quality – error free, on time, every time. We do that by dedicating ourselves to the relentless pursuit of excellence in the services we provide.

This is excerpted from Quest’s statement about their commitment to quality and Six Sigma:

Six Sigma is a rigorous, data-centered approach to process improvement with the goal of delivering “virtual perfection” — meaning consistently high quality. Motorola first introduced Six Sigma in 1979 and companies such as General Electric and Allied Signal use it to dramatically reduce errors by trying to prevent them from happening in the first place. Quest Diagnostics began its Six Sigma journey in 2000 and is committed to being a Six Sigma Company in the eyes of its employees, customers and shareholders.

Looking at the 2008 proxy statement, there in no one on the executive committee with a quality title.


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