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Data visualizations to detect systematic errors in laboratory assay results

: Lötsch, J.

Fulltext ()

Pharmacology research & perspectives : PRP 5 (2017), No.6, Art. e00369, 4 pp.
ISSN: 2052-1707
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IME ()

The measurement of concentrations of drugs and endogenous substances is widely used in basic and clinical pharmacology research and service tasks. Using data science‐derived visualizations of laboratory data, it is demonstrated on a real‐life example that basic statistical exploration of laboratory assay results or advised standard visual methods of data inspection may fall short in detecting systematic laboratory errors. For example, data pathologies such as generating always the same value in all probes of a particular assay run may pass undetected when using standard methods of data quality check. It is shown that the use of different data visualizations that emphasize different views of the data may enhance the detection of systematic laboratory errors. A dotplot of single data in the order of assay is proposed that provides an overview on the data range, outliers and a particular type of systematic errors where similar values are wrongly measured in all probes.