Lessons from the Field

Development and implementation of the Caribbean Laboratory Quality Management Systems Stepwise Improvement Process (LQMS-SIP) Towards Accreditation

George Alemnji, Lisa Edghill, Giselle Guevara, Sacha Wallace-Sankarsingh, Rachel Albalak, Sebastien Cognat, John Nkengasong, Jean-Marc Gabastou
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 6, No 1 | a496 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v6i1.496 | © 2017 George Alemnji, Lisa Edghill, Giselle Guevara, Sacha Wallace-Sankarsingh, Rachel Albalak, Sebastien Cognat, John Nkengasong, Jean-Marc Gabastou | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 May 2016 | Published: 24 February 2017

About the author(s)

George Alemnji, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Caribbean Regional Office, Bridgetown, Barbados
Lisa Edghill, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Giselle Guevara, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Caribbean Regional Office, Bridgetown, Barbados
Sacha Wallace-Sankarsingh, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Rachel Albalak, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Caribbean Regional Office, Bridgetown, Barbados
Sebastien Cognat, World Health Organisation (WHO), Lyon, France
John Nkengasong, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Jean-Marc Gabastou, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Lima, Peru


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Abstract

Background: Implementing quality management systems and accrediting laboratories in the Caribbean has been a challenge.

Objectives: We report the development of a stepwise process for quality systems improvement in the Caribbean Region.

Methods: The Caribbean Laboratory Stakeholders met under a joint Pan American Health Organization/US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative and developed a user-friendly framework called ‘Laboratory Quality Management System – Stepwise Improvement Process (LQMS-SIP) Towards Accreditation’ to support countries in strengthening laboratory services through a stepwise approach toward fulfilling the ISO 15189: 2012 requirements.

Results: This approach consists of a three-tiered framework. Tier 1 represents the minimum requirements corresponding to the mandatory criteria for obtaining a licence from the Ministry of Health of the participating country. The next two tiers are quality improvement milestones that are achieved through the implementation of specific quality management system requirements. Laboratories that meet the requirements of the three tiers will be encouraged to apply for accreditation. The Caribbean Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality hosts the LQMS-SIP Secretariat and will work with countries, including the Ministry of Health and stakeholders, including laboratory staff, to coordinate and implement LQMS-SIP activities. The Caribbean Public Health Agency will coordinate and advocate for the LQMS-SIP implementation.

Conclusion: This article presents the Caribbean LQMS-SIP framework and describes how it will be implemented among various countries in the region to achieve quality improvement.


Keywords

Accreditation;Quality;ISO 15189

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