The Georgetown Public Hospital’s Medical Laboratory processes over five hundred (500) medical samples daily. This is done in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and processes which ensures there is accuracy in every result.
The order and efficiency with which tasks are completed at the laboratory can be credited to its Certification status. The GPHC’s Medical Laboratory was first certified to the GYS 170 Standard, one of the general requirements for the operation of a laboratory in 2003. “…at that time, we were still the largest hospital in the country and we were still seeing the largest population and we still had resource issues at that point in time but because we have that desire to get certified, (the staff) worked tirelessly and they were able to achieve this,” the lab’s Quality Manager Adeila Jaggernauth noted.
The Standard specifies the requirements for the operation of testing and/ or calibration laboratories. The document allows laboratories the know-how on the steps to developing and maintaining a thorough management system which in turn allows for the provision of accurate and reliable test results as requested by consumers.
The laboratory has been in existence since the 1970s and after many moves and extensions, it now operates on a 24-hour basis.
“Because we are the National Referral Hospital in the country, what happens is that any patient in the public system can access services here…but our priority would be our critical patients. We also have a few private patients who access services here, but those patients are really ones who are part of a public/private partnership with the GPHC,” the Quality Manager explained.
The laboratory conducts tests related to Biochemistry, Hematology, Immunology, Compatibility, Urology and Microbiology; all of these services are covered in the scope of the GYS 170 certification.
Having maintained the requirements of the GYS 170 Standard, the laboratory was recertified in April 2022. Working in a certified laboratory comes with its benefits. As Ms. Jaggernauth pointed out, the requirement for feedback has helped her to implement an electronic system to process samples more efficiently.
She explained that the laboratory “has an electronic system now and when patients are coming and bring their samples, we apply a bar code to it and the samples are analyzed on different equipment or even manually and then the results are all electronic.” The next phase of this project will see the Doctors accessing these results in real-time.
She added that the certified status has assisted management in lobbying for more resources including a larger budgetary allocation from the Government, and boosted staff morale.
The National Standard also requires management reviews. Currently, the laboratory is the only Department that conducts such reviews, thereby being able to more efficiently solve issues in the workplace.
“Additionally, it has helped us to be goal-oriented, it has helped us to have set objectives and goals and have indicators to monitor that and to see how we are achieving and if we are achieving it and if we are making good progress if we’re improving and if we’re not and what systems to take. It helps us to track errors, we know what our deviations are if there are any, what systems we can put in place to improve and how we can improve on our service,” Ms. Jaggernauth explained.
As a certified facility, the GPHC’s Medical Laboratory is also able to corroborate its results with other laboratories. To take it a step further, the laboratory is considering ISO accreditation.
The Quality Manager encourages other laboratories to get certified to build confidence in the results provided to customers.
“I want to know if I’m going to have some tests done, I want to know that I would get accurate, reliable results so I want to know they have implemented a system similar to this one or even better than the one that we have here,” she noted.