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“Improving the quality of other labs leads to overall improvement in the healthcare delivery in the country”

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Addressing the dearth of accredited laboratories in India, some established players are undertaking capacity building initiatives. For instance, under Metropolis Healthcare’s programme – EQAS, Metropolis trains other labs to become NABL ready. Dr Puneet K Nigam, Chief Quality Officer, Metropolis Healthcare gives more details to Viveka Roychowdhury

What is the rationale for laboratories to become members of Metropolis Healthcare’s programme – EQAS Plus?

Low awareness, high cost of proficiency testing (PT) schemes, inappropriate test menu, lack of support in case of outliers are some of the issues limiting the wide usage of PT programmes. MHL EQAS is trying to address all these challenges. It started as an in-house programme in 2016 with a few internal participants for basic biochemistry and immunoassay tests. In two years time, it has matured into an accredited PT programme which is still growing to include more tests and disciplines.

What is the cost of this membership and the benefits?

The membership cost varies from scheme to scheme. The scheme for basic composite labs for biochemistry is priced at Rs 1500 + GST.

How many labs and technicians have already enrolled, trained, gone through the course?

We have just started the promotion activity. 12 labs have already enrolled, and more than 100 laboratories have shown interest in the programme.

What has been the response?

The response to this has been very encouraging. Since the MHL programme has unique features at a very affordable price, the labs are showing keen interest. Spreading the awareness of EQAS itself is the challenge, as less than 7 per cent of the labs in India participate in EQAS programmes.

How does this training help Metropolis? Doesn’t it create more competition by creating more NABL-ready/certified labs? Or is it part of the company’s expansion strategy as these labs then become part of the hub-and-spoke model?

The learning management system (LMS) is an additional offering so that labs can train their staff on the best practices. Availability of good trainers is a big issue. The LMS allows the convenience to take trainings at any time on computer or on a smart phone in online or offline mode. Each training comes with post training evaluation which is an indication on the understanding level of the staff.

We understand that improving the quality of other labs leads to overall improvement in the healthcare delivery in the country. Metropolis would like to play a proactive role in this area.

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