Lessons from the Field

Data connectivity: A critical tool for external quality assessment

Ben Cheng, Brad Cunningham, Debrah I. Boeras, Patron Mafaune, Raiva Simbi, Rosanna W. Peeling
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 5, No 2 | a535 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v5i2.535 | © 2016 Ben Cheng, Brad Cunningham, Debrah I. Boeras, Patron Mafaune, Raiva Simbi, Rosanna W. Peeling | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 July 2016 | Published: 17 October 2016

About the author(s)

Ben Cheng, International Diagnostics Centre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
Brad Cunningham, SystemOne, Johannesburg, South Africa
Debrah I. Boeras, International Diagnostics Centre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
Patron Mafaune, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe
Raiva Simbi, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe
Rosanna W. Peeling, International Diagnostics Centre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

Point-of-care (POC) tests have been useful in increasing access to testing and treatment monitoring for HIV. Decentralising testing from laboratories to hundreds of sites around a country presents tremendous challenges in training and quality assurance. In order to address these concerns, companies are now either embedding connectivity in their new POC diagnostic instruments or providing some form of channel for electronic result exchange. These will allow automated key performance and operational metrics from devices in the field to a central database. Setting up connectivity between these POC devices and a central database at the Ministries of Health will allow automated data transmission, creating an opportunity for real- time information on diagnostic instrument performance as well as the competency of the operator through external quality assessment. A pilot programme in Zimbabwe shows that connectivity has significantly improve the turn-around time of external quality assessment result submissions and allow corrective actions to be provided in a timely manner. Furthermore, by linking the data to existing supply chain management software, stock-outs can be minimised. As countries are looking forward to achieving the 90-90-90 targets for HIV, such innovative technologies can automate disease surveillance, improve the quality of testing and strengthen the efficiency of health systems.

Keywords

diagnostics; data connectivity; external quality assessment

Metrics

Total abstract views: 2644
Total article views: 4939


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.