Laboratory Accreditation follow standards that aim to maintain a Quality Management System (QMS) and the culture of continuous improvement. Among these standards, there are requirements that aim at the implementation of contingency plans for emergency situations and even catastrophes, depending on the chosen standard.
Of course, no company, including the laboratories, was prepared for the unusual and sudden situation that was the new Coronavirus. However, having an expertise in acting on times of emergency can be a differentiator, understanding that those involved are familiar with identifying risk situations and acting in the face of this situation in a faster and more assertive manner.
The Quality standards with more specific requirements for the analysis laboratories are quite comprehensive with regard to the entire flow of the sample, from its entry to the release of the result to the client, processes which we know as pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical, in addition to the presence of requirements related to management and support, such as Human Resources, IT, document organization, among others.
When the patient chooses the laboratory for his exams, he expects to collect the material and receive a reliable and timely result. All of this within a pleasant experience of service and comfort.
For laboratories, there is a complexity of processes involved between entering this sample and leaving the report. These steps, within the QMS, must meet legal requirements, internal procedures and accreditation standards, whose primary objective should always be patient safety. Therefore, it is necessary to act in risk management, implementing measures to mitigate and minimize possible errors inherent to all laboratory phases.
Within this context of the accredited laboratory, where the tasks are standardized, the processes are controlled in all phases, the failures that have occurred and the possible failures are treated and continuous improvement is everyone’s objective, it becomes more likely that the preparation for the event management like Covid-19 is bigger, since it has not been easy for anyone.
About the author: Andréa Curty, has been working with Quality for 12 years, being responsible for implementing the Quality Management of the Centro de Genomas laboratory, leading auditor of the PALC Accreditation Program and currently works as a quality consultant in the laboratory sector.