The quest for delivery of quality health care is evident in the tone of many patients, ethicist and the government especially now that the world is facing a global economic crisis. Incorporation of up to date technology and the technological know how is an expensive initiative that hospital facilities are undertaking replicating the cost to health insurance. Therefore health care delivery systems should be regularly evaluated and certified to ensure delivery of quality health care at the hospital, after discharge and in community education on strategies of improving and maintaining health care.
Accreditation bodies and organizations that are recognized by National co-operation for Laboratory accreditation (NACLA), International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC), and Asia-Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (APLAC) regulate laboratory services to ensure the calibration of their equipments and the testing methods they use are in accordance to the ISO / IEC 17025 laboratory accreditation (CSBS 2002).
The laboratory accreditation bodies ensures barriers that curb trade such as mistrust are eliminated by inspecting and evaluating the services provided by the laboratories to advocate for competence and credibility in the performance of the laboratory technicians (WHO 2003). These bodies sign contracts which have their underlying terms in the ISO / IEC 17011 and ISO/IEC 58 to enhance the confidence and acceptance of services and products provided by laboratories within a country and nationally thus helping to advocate for medical tourism by removing trade barriers that affect international and local trade (CSBS 2002).
State officials and the federal department also play a part in ensuring the services provided by laboratories are efficient and of high standards by formulating policies and legislations which reflect the standards stipulated by ISO / IEC 17025 and ISO / IEC 17011(CSBS 2002). The government protects the public by demanding all laboratories to be certified because they rely on the laboratory tests to make their decisions.
Private sectors and trade organizations also help in ensuring laboratories provide quality services to the public by demanding accreditation certification from the laboratory units before investing their capital. The indulgence of these sectors help in ensuring accreditation in laboratory services which include use of their equipments and the reference materials, the methods they use to calibrate their equipments, their organization culture and management which caters for delivery of quality services and how they deal with complaints (CSBS 2002).
From the above significance of laboratory accreditation to health services and facilities it is evident that the world of today is in dire need for these services, thus I fully agree with the implementation of laboratory accreditation programs. The benefits achieved from incorporation of laboratory accreditation programs into health care delivery systems out weighs the loop holes that are not covered by these services.
For instance laboratory accreditation helps to improve trade as explained earlier, because they eliminate trade barriers that harbour transactions and also increase medical tourism which greatly uplifts the economy of a country. Economic crisis does not severely affect this discipline of development owing to the trust and confidence created by accreditation programs, because each year Europe gets approximately 200,000 foreign patients who seek their health care delivery systems (WHO 2003).
Laboratory accreditation programs improve the quality of services provided by the laboratories and the data produced by promoting laboratory inspection harmonizing the process. The program also assists in conduction of research to gather information that is useful in assisting and supporting third party bodies that formulate accreditation regulation policies and certification (Heidemann 2000). The programs also help laboratory units to understand and implement the guidelines stipulated in the ISO/IEC 17025, laboratory management and internal auditing; through the training programs they regularly offer (CSBS 2002).
They also help the laboratory technicians to gain more knowledge and their competent to be up to date with the current technology by provision of the technology and technological know how at an affordable cost to the laboratory unit. The laboratories also get recognition from third party organizations that formulate accreditation regulations thus help in advertising the laboratories because customer confidence is increased by the mere fact of recognition. Thereby, increasing the reliability of laboratory test results and eliminating expenses incurred from re-testing activities (Ovretveit 2001).
Globalization has nurtured a more mature market that demands provision of sophisticated goods and services. This has greatly strained the organization structure of the laboratory units as accreditation policies are highly set to fulfil the 21st century market (Heidemann 2000). The elimination of trade barriers that affect transaction has greatly increased the competition between laboratory units leading to an uncontrollable growth in the economic discipline of medicine tourism which lacks government regulation (Shawn 2003).
This has lead to overcrowding in the health facilities a fact that severely affects the comfort of the local residents when accessing health care. Also the countries resources are strained due to the provision of services to an unplanned large scope of patients (Shawn 2003). Different laboratory accreditation programs are found in different states and contain different mandate structure resulting to creation of conflict zones because of confusion on laboratory operations.
The impact caused by this conflict is reflected on the provision of sub-standard services (Ovretveit 2001). Therefore, segments of the traditional model of laboratory accreditation that are still evident in the modernized models should be re-evaluated to improve the accreditation process, help to cater for the global needs and the depicted problems such as creation of conflict zones and decrease of staff morale due to set of very high standards in the accreditation policies whose cost of implementation seems unbearable to some laboratory facilities (Ovretveit 2001).
Thorough research on the impact of laboratory accreditation process in the market should be done to cater for the needs of the community, the economy and the environment. More data should be recorded and stored to act as evidence when evaluating the consistency, compatibility and competence of implementation of accreditation in various nations. Many health care units are questioning the importance of the accreditation programs to them because information to clarify the cost-effectiveness of these programs is missing.
Accreditation includes a group of activities unlike clinical technology which requires knowledge, skills and high integrity to balance them in order to provide quality services. However, very few nations provide education and training facilities that enable health care units to acquire this ability (Shawn 2003). The necessity for the correlation of the government, private sectors, third part organizations and scholars to do thorough research that will come up with conclusive solutions to the hurdles affecting accreditation programs is required.
This will help the health care delivery system to be able to deal with situations such as global economic crisis, climatic change and inequality. Hence, the provision of these services will be of the required standards and manageable cost eliminating the escalation of health insurance cover prices. The mortality rate in the country will also decrease as more people will seek health care thus creating a community that is physically, socially and economically fit. Word Count: 1158 List or reference
Clinical Standards Board for Scotland (CSBS) (2002), Developing the review process: an international evaluation report, Edinburgh: CSBS. Heidemann, E. (2000), “Moving to global standards for accreditation processes”, Journal of Qual Health Care 12, 227-230. Ovretveit J. (2001), “Quality evaluation and indicator comparison in health care”, Journal of Health Plann Manage 16, 229-241. Shawn, D. S. (2003), “Evaluating Accreditation”, Journal of Quality in Health Care, 15(6), 455-456. World Health Organization (WHO) (2003), Global review of initiatives to improve quality health care, Geneva: WHO.