Managing data quality: What does your chemical result mean?

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Courtesy of Courtesy of EarthSoft, Inc

What does your chemical result mean? How does one result relate to another result taken 3 months earlier? Were the analytical methods the same?  Were the sampling procedures the same? Are these questions that you can answer?
Quality assurance provides a history for every piece of data, enabling validation and traceability of your data. Quality assurance of data should be a prime concern of every data handler; however, cost implications, inadequate data management software and the lack of legislation result in little data being recorded. With a greater need to provide justification of data and higher technology in the form of electronic data transfer and comprehensive database systems, a good QA/QC system should be standard for all environmental data.  EarthSoft’s EQuIS (Environmental Quality Information System) provides a means of obtaining and validating laboratory data electronically. The laboratory provides data in a standardized electronic format that includes both sample data and supporting quality control data. The data are imported into the end user’s database, eliminating potential hand-entry errors. An initial validation of the data is then performed using the Data Verification Module (DVM) software. The DVM essentially identifies outlying quality control results, summarizes potentially impacted sample results and recommends data qualifiers to the validator, significantly reducing the amount of time needed to validate data. Using EQuIS, data of known quality are easily and accurately transferred from the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to the end user’s database.

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