What's New in Newborn Screening?

Bradford L. Therrell; Colleen Buechner; Michele A. Lloyd-Puryear; Peter C. van Dyck; Marie Y. Mann


Pediatr Health. 2008;2(4):411-429. 

In This Article

Newborn Screening System Evaluation

Evaluation is an important component of NBS quality assurance. It is necessary to know if the component parts of the NBS system are functioning properly and if the goals of early detection and medical management are achieving the proper outcomes. A recent report outlines the history and current status of NDBS system evaluation efforts in the USA.[16] While laboratory proficiency is perhaps the most obvious evaluation activity, and a formal voluntary national program exists through the CDC, evaluations of other aspects of the screening system are equally important. The HRSA/MCHB initiative to develop PEAS (see introduction) has led to a comprehensive list of indicators that may be used for program self-evaluation and improvement. This four-part evaluation instrument (cross-cutting, preanalytic, analytic and postanalytic), comprehensively lists system components and performance indicators to provide administrative guidance for system improvement plans that should ultimately lead to increased program uniformity nationally.

Comprehensive program review by external experts provides another means of program quality assessment available to US NBS programs. Initiated in 1988 as a program-improvement activity of HRSA/MCHB, this review process has now been accessed by over 30 state programs. A small multidisciplinary team of NBS experts with extensive program experience is provided on request by the NNSGRC. Their review process includes on-site visits with state-program staff and other interested stakeholders to address self-identified issues targeted for program improvement/refinement. Following interviews, information sharing and visits with local stakeholders, a summary exit interview and written report serve to document the review team's recommendations. Team members remain available for consultative assistance following the program review.[16]


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