Technology and science are growing and advancing with every passing second. There are numerous new advancements in the medical field that are contributing to faster and more efficient ways to treat patients and cure them.
These developments in the medical field are of crucial importance as the life of an individual is dependent on the results that are conducted based on these new scientific developments.
Even if a small insignificant mistake is made in the process of completing the medical tests, then it can turn out to be fatal for someone fighting for their life. For example, A patient suffering a lot of blood loss due to an injury may be given the wrong blood type which would lead to his/her unfortunate death.
Why is it important to choose the right laboratory?
Studies in the United States convey that about 2,51,000 deaths in a year are due to medical negligence and errors caused during the medical testings. Other studies also say that at least 1 out of every 20 people who undergo medical tests in the United States are diagnosed incorrectly.
So, is it not essential to make sure the tests are being conducted by efficient and experienced experts and that the equipment used to run those tests are reliable?
All of us undergo at least one medical test in our lifetime. It can be as basic as a blood test or something much more complicated such as a test for a disease or virus. Irrespective of what test they are undergoing, every individual has the right to be assured that their medical tests are in the right hands and at reliable testing laboratories.
However, every laboratory has its limitations because of which there can be certain hurdles in conducting the required tests.
What is considered medical errors?
Medical errors can be defined as “an act of omission or commission in planning or execution that contributes or could contribute to an unintended result.” According to this definition, small errors made during the process of testing the medical samples are also considered medical errors. For example,
- It can be a wrong test that is conducted
- The test results are misinterpreted
- The correct test results of different individuals are swapped
What are the causes of these medical errors?
The common causes of these errors that often occur can be due to firstly, ordering the wrong tests—secondly, the handling of the testing samples by the laboratory. Thirdly, not having any set protocols for quality control and if some error occurs, the inability of the lab to rectify that mistake. Lastly, the wrong interpretation of the test results.
What factors make a laboratory reliable?
Some of the factors that have to be considered to determine if the testing laboratory is reliable or not are,
- By evaluating the qualifications of the staff and professionals working at the laboratory
- What are the samples the laboratory collects for every test
- How do they collect the samples
- How do they handle the collected samples
- What are the pieces of equipment used for conducting the tests
- Are the equipment which is used calibrated correctly
- Is the lab collecting the required samples correctly without any contamination or not
- Do they provide the test results on time
Additionally, it is important to find out whether the lab is certified and authorized to conduct the medical and food testings or not.
What are the certifications that are required for a testing laboratory in India?
In India, the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) oversees the activities of the testing laboratories. It certifies the labs that are equipped with correctly calibrated equipment and are employed with competent experts.
For conducting food testings, the lab has to be authorized by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The FSSAI, given by the Ministry and Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, is mandatory to be obtained by those in the food business. For example, hotels, restaurants, manufacturers of processed, and packed food items, etc.
The samples from the manufacturers and food producers are collected and sent to FSSAI authorized laboratories to get them tested. Based on the report provided by the food testing lab, the FSSAI grants the license to the respective food manufacturer or a business owner.
When is it required to conduct a laboratory test?
- To conduct diagnostic tests for viruses, bacteria, pathogens, contaminants, adulterants, etc.
- To monitor the effect of a drug
- To conduct screening tests for the identification of diseases
- To conduct new research in the medical and scientific domains
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