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Published: 2022-01-11

Quality of health care requires higher quality in clinical laboratories

NEWS Poor quality of healthcare is a global public health problem. Laboratory services are key factors in the delivery of quality care, as the diagnosis of the disease is the starting point for appropriate treatment and surveillance of diseases. This is shown in a new doctoral thesis at Umeå University, where the quality of laboratory services in Rwanda is analysed.

Text: Ola Nilsson

“Accurate, reliable, and timely test results are key factors to being able to make quick and evidence-based decisions in clinical care. Therefore, it is important for public health to ensure the quality of laboratory services in various ways,” says Vincent Rusanganwa, doctoral student at Umeå University.

important for public health

In his doctoral thesis, Vincent Rusanganwa analysed data collected from 49 clinical laboratories in Rwanda during the period from 2010 to 2019.

It was seen that investing in leadership and its accountability as well as regular external quality laboratory assessments improve the laboratory quality services. The absence of regular assessments to identify gaps and address them increases the risk of low performance in laboratory quality systems which may lead to inaccurate test results.

Incorrect laboratory test results in turn risk leading to inappropriate patient management with serious health consequences. As an example, the current Covid19 pandemic highlights the importance of high quality laboratory diagnostics.

Clinical laboratories also play a crucial role in surveillance and control of diseases, especially in diagnostics of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. This critical role of clinical laboratories calls for more attention on laboratory quality systems, especially in quality of clinical laboratory policy reinforcement with monitored strategic and operational planning.

To achieve and sustain the good performance in quality laboratory services, a system approach that combines the reinforcement of coordination and knowledge of personnel in laboratory quality management system as well as data mainstreaming is necessary. The continuous quality improvement of healthcare is more than a policy, rather an institutional culture which is turned into actionable monitored strategies.

“Access to laboratory quality services is one of the prerequisites for achieving the goal of universal health coverage and global health security,” says Vincent Rusanganwa.

Rusanganwa Vincent is public health physician from Rwanda focusing on health system research.

Read the dissertation


Vincent Rusanganwa
Postdoctoral fellow