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The International Council for Standardization in Haematology: 1964-2021

Authors & Contributors

Ian Mackie - Wendy N Erber

First Published

03 June 2021





The International Council for Standardization in Haematology (ICSH) was originally formed as a standardizing committee associated with the European Society for Hematology in 1963 and was then ratified as an organization in 1964 during a meeting of the International Society for Hematology.

It was later reformed and re-registered in 2007 as an independent foundation in the Netherlands and not-for-profit corporation in the United States.


The ICSH has evolved and developed over the intervening years. However, the key aim of improving the practice of haematology laboratories is to obtain reliable and reproducible results. This allows for differences which may be encountered in resource-constrained countries. This is achieved by:


  • promoting the development of international standards to improve the comparability of measurements between laboratories and consistency over time;

  • improving the general quality, precision and accuracy of methods, and measurements in normal diagnostic haematology practice; and

  • maintaining a forum for discussion and communication between affiliated organizations and manufacturers to achieve the above aim.


The ICSH maintains its not-for-profit status and in 2017 was registered as a limited company based in the UK (company house registration number 10 940 331 and registered charity no. 1 178 359). The ICSH is managed by an elected Board with a written constitution; details may be found at


The ICSH holds General Assembly meetings each year, in different countries where the activities of the various working groups are discussed in a forum open to all members and Affiliates. The General Assembly is an open forum attended by any interested participants who can register free of charge.


The ICSH is actively involved with other international organizations through which standards in haematology can be promulgated ICSH is an Executive Committee Member of the Joint Committee for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (JCTLM). Through this membership, ICSH and JCTLM are currently collaborating to further develop the immunoplatelet counting method for inclusion in the JCTLM Database as the International Reference Method.


ICSH has an official relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “non-State Actor.” In this capacity, ICSH has the opportunity to support the work of the WHO in the areas of common interest. The ICSH also interacts with its Affiliate Members, many of which are national haematology organizations.

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