Have you had to visit your nearest diagnostic center? Have you been disappointed once you got there? Do you feel let down by the quality standards of the center?
India is dotted with diagnostic centers across most towns and cities. Most claim to be the best in the business with state-of the art equipment and trained technicians. But, are they?
Lack of uniform regulatory standards at a national level places you, the consumer, in dire straits. It is here that your critical health parameters are being defined and your ultimate diagnosis and treatment depends on the results.
Role of NABL
NABL, the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories comes under the aegis of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. All laboratories are required to follow the guidelines laid down by NABL and to comply with the requirements listed in the international standard ISO 15189:2003 that relate to ‘quality and competence’. Detailed descriptions are available for small, medium and large laboratories.
However, most laboratories, although aware of the accreditation do not comply because of the cost incurred to the facility. The assessors have to be paid for the service and an annual fee is levied to maintain the accreditation on a yearly basis.
Need for quality checks
Stringent quality checks are necessary for analysis and accurate data. Time limits are important as soon as the sample arrives. If the sample has to reach another geographical location, packing in dry ice is a must. In fact, quality checks are necessary for every batch of samples received.
Most would agree that if a laboratory could proudly display that it has been accredited by NABL, business would increase. Perhaps NABL should also consider measures to decrease costs so that all laboratories would be NABL accredited and sustain international quality standards.
What do you think about local diagnostic centers? Can India do better on this front, considering we have world class hospitals?