(a) A written procedure manual for all tests, assays, and examinations performed by the laboratory must be available to, and followed by, laboratory personnel. Textbooks may supplement but not replace the laboratory's written procedures for testing or examining specimens.
(b) The procedure manual must include the following when applicable to the test procedure:
(1) Requirements for patient preparation; specimen collection, labeling, storage, preservation, transportation, processing, and referral; and criteria for specimen acceptability and rejection as described in § 493.1242.
(2) Microscopic examination, including the detection of inadequately prepared slides.
(3) Step-by-step performance of the procedure, including test calculations and interpretation of results.
(4) Preparation of slides, solutions, calibrators, controls, reagents, stains, and other materials used in testing.
(5) Calibration and calibration verification procedures.
(6) The reportable range for test results for the test system as established or verified in § 493.1253.
(7) Control procedures.
(8) Corrective action to take when calibration or control results fail to meet the laboratory's criteria for acceptability.
(9) Limitations in the test methodology, including interfering substances.
(10) Reference intervals (normal values).
(11) Imminently life-threatening test results, or panic or alert values.
(12) Pertinent literature references.
(13) The laboratory's system for entering results in the patient record and reporting patient results including, when appropriate, the protocol for reporting imminently life-threatening results, or panic, or alert values.
(14) Description of the course of action to take if a test system becomes inoperable.
(c) Manufacturer's test system instructions or operator manuals may be used, when applicable, to meet the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(12) of this section. Any of the items under paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(12) of this section not provided by the manufacturer must be provided by the laboratory.
(d) Procedures and changes in procedures must be approved, signed, and dated by the current laboratory director before use.
(e) The laboratory must maintain a copy of each procedure with the dates of initial use and discontinuance as described in § 493.1105(a)(2).