A comparison of methods for determining reference values for quantitative assays
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*Justin Leslie Rogers, Abbott 

Keywords: reference interval, reference value, cutoff, robust, nonparametric

CLSI EP28-A3c describes three methods for calculating reference values in apparently healthy populations for quantitative clinical laboratory tests. The guidance provides recommendations for scenarios in which each method should be used, implying that the robust method be reserved for situations where the data is non-normal and the sample size is small. Software capable of performing the robust method calculations has become more accessible, and the robust method may actually produce more desirable results compared to the nonparametric method in other situations as well. A simulation study was performed to compare the performance of these two methods in a number of different situations.