Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, is calling for more medical labs to apply for accreditation, as the Government moves to position Jamaica as a health tourism destination.
Mr. Hylton made the call at a ceremony to present a certificate of accreditation to Biomedical Caledonia Medical Laboratory Ltd, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Kingston, on June 25.
This is the first medical lab in Jamaica to be accredited to international standards, and was done by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC).
The Minister said there is a need to establish a world class national quality infrastructure within the field of medicine, and that accreditation is an important pillar of this national quality infrastructure.
“There is probably no other area of national life where the need for quality and accuracy is more important than in our health care delivery services. Decisions related to health care must be informed by reliable and accurate information, not sometimes, but every single time,” Mr. Hylton stressed.
Lab accreditation, though mandatory in some other Caribbean countries, is still a voluntary action in Jamaica. However, Minister Hylton said legislation should be put in place to ensure that lab accreditation is mandatory in Jamaica.
Highlighting the importance of the Minister’s call, Chief Executive Officer of JANAAC, Marguerite Domville, pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 70 per cent of clinical decision making is influenced by medical laboratory results.
“Statistics have shown that thousands of persons die each year, due to errors in medical laboratory results. Therefore, the ISO 15-189 standard which was developed in 2003, is to ensure that this situation changes and medical labs accredited to this international standard can deliver high quality service,” she explained.
Senior Lead Assessor at JANAAC, Mrs. Sonia Morgan, said that the accreditation of Biomedical Caledonia Lab is internationally accepted and meets both the requirements of ISO 15-189 and the International Laboratory Accreditation Corporation (ILAC).
She outlined the process of accreditation for other labs that might be interested in becoming accredited.
“The process begins with an application from the lab that is seeking accreditation, which is then reviewed by JANAAC and the findings are presented to the laboratory,” Mrs. Morgan said.
She added that after the lab deals with the findings of the review, an onsite visit is conducted by the assessment team from JANAAC.
“An interim report is prepared after the visit, and the lab is given an opportunity to make corrections based on the findings. The team then executes follow-up activities to assess the lab’s efforts to implement effective corrective actions,” Mrs. Morgan pointed out.
A final report is then made to the CEO of JANAAC, which is sent to the Accreditation Evaluation Committee which makes the final decision.