ROAD TOWARDS ACCREDITATION by Mrs. E. Chidziva
Challenges facing laboratories worldwide are to provide QUALITY services which include reliable and accurate medical results timeously. Resources are often limited hence the need to use them as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The Zimbabwe government reiterated the need to provide its citizens with quality medical services by strengthening evidence based medicine. One way to achieve this was through ISO 15189 accreditation for medical laboratories. Accreditation is a procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that an organization is compliant and competent to carry out specific tasks according to predetermined standards. This recognition puts us on the international map because test results that are produced at Cimas Medical Laboratories are acceptable worldwide reducing the need for medical tourism.
Road leading to accreditation
An initiative was rolled out by the government in collaboration with ZINQAP, CDC, WHO-AFRO where the SLMTA/SLIPTA program was unveiled. Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation is a management tool that allows laboratories to progressively improve on their quality management system through a five tier rating system as they work towards ISO 15189 accreditation.
Stepwise Laboratory Improvement Processes Towards Accreditation is a framework to encourage, support and recognize the implementation of Quality Management System in medical laboratories in a stepwise manner.
Progression towards ISO 15189 accreditation
- It was important to get buy in from management and staff. Initially this proved difficult because change is never easy and always is painful.
- A quality steering committee was formed with a representative from each department chosen by staff members so as to get buy in from staff by actively involving them.
- The committee then drew up a plan of activities which included internal audits and structured meetings.
- Training requirements were identified and trainings were carried out.
- All support staff participated in the accreditation process even though they were not directly involved.
- Cimas Medical Laboratories management was totally committed. The Managing Director being the champion of accreditation was astute in identifying skills in his staff which resulted in persons being given tasks aligned to their skills in an effort to utilize talent towards achieving Accreditation.
ACCREDITATION IS AN INDICATION THAT QUALITY IS A WAY OF LIFE