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Environmental Microbiology Proficiency Analytical Testing (EMPAT) Program

The purpose of proficiency testing is to provide interested parties with objective evidence of a laboratory’s capability to produce data that is both accurate and repeatable for the activities listed in its scope of accreditation. A laboratory’s competence can be demonstrated through favorable proficiency testing data. This is important to clients, potential customers, accreditation bodies, and other external entities.

Participation in proficiency testing activities also provides invaluable feedback in the internal monitoring of a laboratory’s quality system. Through these activities, a laboratory can verify its competence to perform specific calibrations or tests. In addition to regulatory compliance, participating in a proficiency testing program can help analyze the reliability of a laboratory’s analytical protocols, laboratory personnel, and equipment. AIHA PAT programs especially provide participants with opportunities to improve and refine the analytical skills of their staff while training different analysts or testing new procedures. This allows participants to demonstrate their ability to correctly analyze samples in the workplace and the environment.​

The Environmental Microbiology Proficiency Analytical Testing (EMPAT) Program is a performance evaluation program, sponsored by the AIHA Proficiency Analytical Testing Programs (AIHA PAT Programs), for environmental microbiology laboratories. This program was developed for microbiology laboratories specializing in analysis for microorganisms commonly detected in air, fluids and bulk samples collected from schools, offices, hos​pitals, industrial, agricultural, and other work environments. The AIHA PAT Programs' EMPAT Direct Exam program is targeted towards participants analyzing fungal spores by light microscopy. Participating in the Direct Exam program enables participants primarily performing spore trap analysis to establish proficiency and improve performance in the microscopic analysis of environmental samples. The EMPAT program is open to all interested microbiology laboratories.​​​​​​​​

Updated: 10/12/2018 7:08 AM