Things to check before you choose any diagnostic lab

New Delhi [India], Sep 06 : How many times have you had to get your tests done again because the results were wrong or rejected by your doctor? Most of us have gone through this one time or another.

Errors by diagnostic labs ends up being a costly affair to the health of the patients considering the risks it poses to them.

False reports can lead to misdiagnosis which further complicates the situation as it can delay the treatment or lead to wrong treatment administered by the doctor.

A small misdiagnosis like incorrect sugar reading can have adverse effect on the health of patient if the doctor starts him/her on diabetes treatment like insulin injections.

Apart from this, analytical errors in diagnostic reports can be a monetary burden on the patients as well.

Here are the things one should check before choosing a diagnostic lab. -Who is drawing your blood Phlebotomy (the drawing of blood) is a multistep process which affects the quality of the specimen and is thus important for preventing laboratory error, patient injury and even death.

WHO has pointed out that even the touch of a finger to verify the location of a vein before insertion of the needle increases the chance that a specimen can be contaminated.

This can cause false blood culture results, prolong hospitalization, delay diagnosis and cause unnecessary use of antibiotics.

-How is your sample being treated before the analysis Handling of the sample is as essential as its analysis process because starting from using a wrong gauge of needle to collect blood to jostling and jarring of sample tubes after collection or in transit can break red blood cells, causing wrong laboratory results.

Wrong documentation of patient details or wrong direction given by the sample collection personnel to the patient for preparedness can influence a lab report.

"It is estimated that up to 70% of errors that happen in a diagnostic laboratory report are pre analytical.

How the sample has been treated from the time it has been taken and till it gets into the lab matters a lot.

If the temperature of the sample has to be maintained at a specific level before it reaches a testing lab, the cold pack, or dry ice, how the integrity of cold chain is maintained throughout its transit, everything matters," says Arindam Haldar, CEO, SRL Diagnostics .

-Is the lab using latest technologies Diagnostics technologies are improving every day, which leads to increased quality assurance and decrease in the time duration of the test results.

Better technologies are more equipped to handle modern day diseases burden like tuberculosis, thyroid, diabetes, etc.

Before choosing your diagnostic lab, check which technology is relevant for the tests recommended by your doctor.

In fact, you can ask your doctor for advise on this as well. -Is the person certifying your lab authorised Medical council of India has recently advised the diagnostic labs to have an MBBS doctor on board to certify their test reports, and not the regular lab technician or even an M.Sc./P.hD holder in pathology.

-Last but not the least, is your lab accredited In India, there is no mandatory policy for diagnostics labs to get accreditation from NABL or any other authentic body to ensure the quality of their services.

"Organised lab chains have voluntarily got their labs accredited, but still a large proportion is yet to do so.

In unorganized sector most of the labs are not accredited. If a laboratory is accredited by a reputed accreditation body, it means that the laboratory has achieved a certain level of technical and personnel competence to perform specific types of testing, measurement and calibration activities.

Accreditation or a certificate is an assurance that the laboratory is capable of reporting results that are accurate, traceable and reproducible - critical components in medical decision-making," says Haldar.

So, once you enter a lab for the tests, do check at the reception or ask lab assistant if the lab is accredited or what certification does it have.

Source: ANI