|First-grade hospitals in the country are undertaking many activities for standardisation and quality control of medical laboratories to be able to share medical test results with each other
Hospitals are classified into grades based on their scale, labour structure and staff capabilities, treatment quality, facilities, and equipment.
Under a Ministry of Health roadmap, first-grade hospitals will join central-level facilities at the end of next month in sharing medical test results to reduce expenses for patients, who are often required to redo all the tests when they switch hospitals.
In July last year, all 38 central-level hospitals began to share the results among themselves.
By 2020 province-level hospitals will start doing so, and by 2025 it will become universal.
Dr Nguyen Trong Thien, director of Da Nang C Hospital, a first-grade facility, said his hospital had been working on its laboratory quality since 2014.
“The hospital has collaborated with the central region-based Centre for Standarisation and Quality Control of Medical Laboratories to improve the quality of its tests. It is ready to share its medical test results with other hospitals.”
Dr Le Hoang Oanh, deputy director of the blood transfusion centre at HCM City’s Cho Ray Hospital, said labs also must get an external quality assessment to ensure the reliability of their medical test results and that they have the same quality as other hospitals in the country and abroad.
His centre had collaborated with the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, HCM Haematology and Blood Transfusion Hospital and the Quality Control Center for Medical Laboratory to set up a protocol for external assessment, he said.
"It is based on World Health Organisation guidelines," he added.
Speaking at a review conference on sharing medical test results held at the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy on November 26, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son said his ministry had instructed medical laboratory standarisation centres around the country to quickly establish assessment standards and criteria for labs.
Hospital labs which share medical test results must acquire ISO 15189 certification, he said.
The ministry had also ordered the centres to strengthen training to improve and standardise the capacity of lab technicians in the country.
From this year the quality of labs is one of criteria to assess the quality of hospitals, according to the ministry.
The country’s 1,336 hospitals did more than 528 million tests last year, half at province-level hospitals and 22% at central-level ones.
“If hospitals share their test results, the number of tests will reduce sufficiently, helping save time and money of patients,” Son said. “This will also ease the crowding [at hospitals].”
Dr Vu Quang Huy, director of the Quality Control Centre for Medical Laboratories under HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy, said his centre had trained hundreds of lab workers since 2014 and monitored the quality of health facilities in the southern, central and Central Highlands regions.