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Training Programs from NABLAnnouncement

Training Programs from NABL

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Laboratory Excellence Award

Prof. S.K. Joshi Laboratory Excellence Award from QCI NBQP

Prof. S.K. Joshi – Laboratory Excellence Award has been instituted to promote Laboratory Quality and performance improvement in the country. The award has been incepted to ensure the laboratory’s commitment to achieve excellence in providing high precision testing and calibration services in line with the prevalent national/international quality systems legislations including Health, Safety, Environment (HSE).

The Award is to recognize Laboratories (Testing, Medical and Calibration) those have established outstanding achievements in the field of Quality in services and benchmarked in their domain for their best practices

Eligibility:

1.This award is open to all currently operational Laboratories pertaining to Testing, Calibration & Medical including their Proficiency Testing Providers & Reference Material Producers located in India.
2.Participating labs are required to operate the applicable Quality System according to the requirements as stipulated in ISO 17025/ISO 15189/ISO 17043/ISO 17034, regarding its implementation and monitoring.
3. The award require labs to operate with proper HSE measures.
4.The Laboratory should not have been convicted by any Court.
5.A Laboratory once awarded can be considered only after a period of 3 Years

The 5 stages of assessment by Technical Expert Committee (TEC) are as follows:-

Stage 1: Application Document Evaluation
Stage 2: Physical/Virtual Presentation
Stage 3: Site Assessment / verification
Stage 4: Evaluation through Reference check of customer in special case
Stage 5: Inputs to Jury for final evaluation

Assessment Criteria

The assessment of the application submitted by the laboratory is made on the basis of various parameters which have been identified by a team of experts from NBQP/QCI.

Primary Parameters:

  1. Management Commitment – Qualification, Experience, Training & Innovation, Quality Improvement and skill upgradation.
  2. Strategy – Accreditation for entire Laboratory activities (to ensure Sustainability).
  3. Processes – Standard Method (National/International), Validation/Verification, Equipment/Techniques used and Measurement Traceability to SI units.
  4. Infrastructure & Quality Control Resources – Facilities and Environmental Conditions (Innovation for enhancing Good Laboratories Practices) owned by Lab. Use of Certified Reference material, Proficiency Testing Program participation and Inter-Laboratory Comparison and other QC checks.
  5. Customer Complaints, Feedback and Improvement – Diagnosis of the problem (Root Cause Analysis & Quality tools deployed)
  6. Key Results/Satisfaction – Reports, Customer Results, Society Results and Employee Satisfaction. Tangible benefits, intangible benefits or socio economic and environmental benefits

Terms & Conditions Of The Award:

1. Non – disclosure and confidentiality
I. The names of the applicants, evaluation and scoring system developed for the assessment process will be regarded as proprietary and kept confidential. Such information shall be made available only to those individuals who will be directly involved in the assessment and administrative process and shall not be disclosed.
II. QCI will not disclose the details about the shortlisted/non-shortlisted laboratories at any stage of the assessment. The qualified laboratories will be notified via e-mail/call by the QCI office directly.
2. Any misinterpretation of facts will disqualify the laboratories from Awards.
3. Applications received with incomplete data will not qualify.
4. Any Award applicant and Awardee cannot use the NBQP and QCI logo in anyway that suggests that QCI is affiliated with, sponsors, approves or endorses you, your organization, your websites, your products or your services etc.

Application Fees

There is no Application Fees

Award Presenatation

The awards will be presented during a special Award Ceremony

Where to Apply ?

Award Details

check here to know more about various awards and details

When is the Last date for applying ?

Last date for submitting the application form is 16th November 2021

For any queries, contact :

Source – https://labexcellenceaward.qcin.org/Home.aspx

Fee Update from NABL

Revised Fee Structure effective for all applications received on/after 01.10.2021 Posted on 01.10.2021

NABL has released revised Fee Structure for all applications received on or after 1/10/2021 . This is applicable for all Testing and Calibration Labs.

All applicant labs and Accredited, Certified Labs have to make a note of the same.

Download the notification from here .

Clarification on the Role of NABL in Enforcing Regulations

Announcement from NABL – National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories

Clarification on the Role of NABL in Enforcing Regulations

Accreditation is the independent evaluation of Conformity Assessment bodies against recognised normative documents like Standards, Regulations etc. to carry out specific activities to ensure their impartiality, consistency of operation and competence. Through the application of national and international Standards, Government, Procurers and Consumers can have confidence in the results of accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies.

Laboratories are accredited to the applicable international standards, ISO/IEC 17025 in case of testing and calibration laboratories, and ISO 15189 applicable to Medical Laboratories.

Laboratory Customers, Regulatory Authorities, Organizations and Schemes using peer assessment, Accreditation bodies, and others use these documents in confirming or recognizing the competence of laboratories.

The results from Accredited Laboratories are used extensively by regulators for the public benefit in the provision of services that promote an unpolluted environment, safe food, clean water, energy, health and social care services.

Many Government Agencies have recognised the importance of credible accreditation schemes that are developed against internationally recognised standards.

NABL Accreditation is increasingly being used by Regulators and Government to ascertain the Quality of Products. Accredited CABs can objectively state conformance of product or service to specified requirements.

NABL is a Voluntary Accreditation body and has no Regulatory powers. Checking of compliance to the regulatory requirements falls under the purview of respective/applicable Regulator.

In all cases, it is the responsibility of Laboratory to abide by the National & State Statutory requirements, Acts, Ordnance, Rules, Regulations, Legal orders, Court Decisions/ Orders issued by the Government, Statutory Bodies, Courts as applicable and in force from time to time.

Download the announceement from here

Source : https://nabl-india.org/

The above announcement from NABL clarifies its role as Accreditation body to various stakeholders at market place. Regulators , Governments normally rely on Accreditation Bodies for Conformity Assessment procedures. Accreditation bodies are not Regulators and can’t step into shoes of Regulators. This confusion is often seen at market place where Accreditation bodies and Regulators Roles are understood wrongly , get mixed up often. Frequent communication from Apex bodies , Accreditation bodies clarifying the role of ABs, CBs etc throws so much clarity to the industry, stakeholders too. Markets still mix up Accreditations and Certifications. Lot of confusion prevails between Voluntary Recognition Programs and Mandatory Recognition Programs. FAQs list is very long and apex bodies can release communication often on all the FAQs.

Improving Global Competitiveness of Indian businesses is the key focus of Govt of India and businesses need to show compliance to various Conformity Assessment Procedures of Importing Countries. Understanding all these matter as most of these protocols are International Protocols too.

Country is witnessing lot of FDI and many new global businesses are setting up shop in India. International businesses need clarity and clear communication on conformity assessment too as Technical Regulations are linked to International Accounting Standards as well.

Announcement from NABL

QR Code in Test Reports / Calibration Certificates Made Mandatory

Mandatory QR Code in Test Reports issued by Medical Labs Announcement from NABL

QR Code on the Medical Test Reports Medical laboratories may note that, in a memorandum issued on 13.05.2021 by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, it is mandatory for travellers flying abroad to carry their negative RT-PCR test report having QR codes linking to the original report.

Medical Laboratories should provide QR code on all test reports issued which can be scanned using any QR scanning application available on mobile / any devices to authenticate and reproduce the test report online. This will prevent the manipulation of test results & the usage of fake test reports.

Laboratories to ensure that all the requirements of ISO 15189, NABL, regulators are met. Authorized test results in a tamper-proof and non-editable test report will build trust in laboratory results.

Download the advisory from NABL here

Mandatory QR Code on the Test Reports issued by Testing Labs / Calibration Certificates issued by Calibration Labs

Labs should provide QR code on all test reports/calibration certificates issued which can be scanned using any QR scanning application available on mobile / any devices to authenticate and reproduce the test report/calibration certificate online.

This will prevent the manipulation of test results/calibration data & the circulation of forged test report/calibration certificate in the market. Interest of the consumer / end user of the product and the reputation /Image of the lab are also protected.

Download the advisory from NABL here

Source : https://nabl-india.org/

Parakh-Unified Laboratory Network

Govt of India initiative for mapping of labs and testing infrastructure in the country

“PARAKH” portal is a Government of India initiative for mapping of laboratory infrastructure across the country on a unified network of laboratories. This is a step towards enhancing Ease of Doing Business. This portal incorporates all the NABL accredited and Government recognized laboratories in the country on a Geographic Information System. This is an interactive and user friendly system to search laboratories and avail laboratory services, based on various parameters a user may require.

DPIIT Team said this portal should help to reduce compliance burden of the labs.

This may be the first step towards strengthening National Laboratories Quality Infrastructure in the country.

Source : DPIIT

Laboratory Director Designation – ISO 15189 Standard Requirement

Designation of Lab Director, a QMS Specification, becoming a HR Issue in the Laboratory

Chithambaranathan Sivasubramonian, Associate Consultant

nathan@valueadded.in

Medical Laboratories & the need to create a dedicated Laboratory Director Post / Designation to satisfy QMS requirement

Isn’t this becoming a HR issue

A Laboratory Professional from a client organization reached out to us seeking clarification on Lab Director’s role in Accreditation process. She was asked by the Management to redesignate Lab Director as Lab head in Accreditation documents and she wanted to know if its ok to do so as Accreditation norm is asking for Lab Director designation.

This has triggered an internal discussion at office and we were debating about the need to create / insist on Lab Director’s designation / role in labs seeking accreditation.

Medical Labs were obtaining National / International Certifications, Accreditations all these years and each program has its own spec. However, the global trend in the last few years has shifted towards introducing Minimum Standards for Medical Labs and many countries have rolled out the program. India too has rolled out the Minimum Stds for Labs as Regulatory spec under Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010.

Let’s take the case of a Lab appointing a Lab Director as an accreditation norm and see what is listed out by various National , International Stds for this requirement.

We have the following popular programs for Medical Labs running in our country :

  • Minimum Standards mandated under CEA. Both NABL, QAI offer Certification programs under this scheme in the country.
  • ISO 9001:2015 – Quality Management Systems Certification Program
  • Med Labs Certification Programs offered by NABH
  • Med Labs Accreditation Programs offered by NABL, CAP and QAI

Minimum Standards has mandated the Minimum qualification of Technical Head of Laboratory or Specialist or Authorized Signatories. Clearly defined spec on who should act as Technical head is mentioned. So any Certification program offered by NABL, QAI or any other body has to have the same spec in their Certification, Accreditation criteria as compliance to Minimum Standards is a Regulatory requirement.

ISO 9001:2015 Standard Clause 7 Support talks in general about Personnel competency, training needs etc. No other specification is listed as it’s a generic QMS Standard applicable for all businesses.

NABH Essential Standards for Medical Laboratories program talks about Personnel and its clearly mentioned about the Responsibility of Quality Manager & Technical Manager. But with respect to overall responsibility of the Laboratory Head, NABH Essential Standard for Medical Laboratories hasn’t mentioned anything much. So overall responsibility of Lab Head s not clear enough under this program.   

QAI’s Recognition for Medical Laboratory Program, in Human Resources section – MBBS Doctor or MSc Pathology/Medical Microbiology/Medical Biochemistry are recognized qualification for Authorized Signatory. But there is no evidence of defining the overall responsibility of the laboratory head and the same isn’t clear in the QAI Recognition of Medical Laboratory Program either.      

NABL’s Med Lab Accreditation Program mentions that Laboratory Director/ Head of Laboratory/ Technical Head (howsoever named), shall have the overall responsibility of Operations of the laboratory. Hence Lab Director’s Designation / Role is not mandatory. This is thee specific criteria document on NABL which is NABL 112. But the Standard for this program is ISO 15189:2012 which talks about the need to designate Laboratory Director.

CAP’s Laboratory Accreditation Program has a mandatory specification for Lab Director’s Designation and Role.

When 80-90% of the Labs in the country belong to Small labs category, can all qualify for Certifications, Accreditations. An ideal case is for Small labs to opt for Minimum Standards as 1st step towards the Quality journey before migrating to Certifications, Accreditations Programs. Compliance to Min Stds is also mandatory as it’s a Regulatory requirement.

My Thoughts as a Lab QMS Consultant :

I’m going back to the question asked by the Lab Professional whether its mandatory to have Lab Director Role and Designation in the Accredited Lab.

As a Consultant in healthcare industry, I would say it’s a debatable topic. The requirement depends on the National, International Standards followed by the Med Labs.

I have listed out the personnel spec given by each Standard for Med Labs. Lab Director’s Designation is a hierarchy in the organogram and can’t be maintained by all Labs. Labs can specify their own designations as listed in the NABL 112 Criteria OR criteria.

ISO/TS 5798 – Quality Practice for detection of (SARS-CoV-2)

A Wakeup Call from International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)The future technical specification ISO/TS 5798

Chithambaranathan Sivasubramonian
Chithambaranathan Sivasubramonian

Associate Consultant

Covid pandemic is a good lesson for human race to experience and understand the broken healthcare system across the globe. Communities have gone through a lot of panic, sense of despair, sadness, worries, increased stress levels due to uncertain future etc. Most of the people have suffered from psychological disorders, giving rise to mental health issues.  

The virus has tested the global healthcare system’s preparedness to face crisis, disasters of this nature and its challenges associated in dealing with the situation.  Pandemic/epidemics are becoming a frequent affair. It’s high time global health organisations learn from this pandemic and work towards rebuilding a robust  healthcare system.

Testing Blues – How can we trust the results?

Pandemic has created enough havoc in the medical laboratories testing space.

Communities did not have access to accurate, affordable testing which could throw accurate and reliable test results across the globe. No standard test methods were followed thus adding more chaos and confusion at the market place. Lack of standardisation often leads to conflict in the system. Glaring gaps in the medical testing space during this crisis time made International Organisation for Standardisation work towards developing s solution to address the market need.

As a result, experts on ISO’s technical committee for laboratory testing and in vitro diagnostic (IVD) test systems started working on international best-practice guidelines to assist medical testing laboratories.

The future technical specification ISO/TS 5798, Quality practice for detection of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by nucleic acid amplification methods by ISO will have detailed considerations for the design, development, verification, validation and implementation of analytical tests for detecting SARS-CoV-2 using nucleic acid amplification methods. It will include pre-examination and examination process steps for respiratory tract specimens as well as their relevant parameters.

The new technical specification intends to help medical laboratories make the best use of commercially available IVDs when testing for COVID-19 and develop their own tests, so that testing is more reliable and accurate. But consistency and accuracy of results are not just about the type of test used, they are also linked to the overall quality of the laboratory that undertakes the work. Having an internationally agreed level of competence means that results can be trusted.

They can then be shared and compared with counterparts overseas, which is an essential step to assure quality control in medical laboratory testing – for COVID-19 as well as any future pandemic.

Never have we been more acutely aware of the importance of reliability when it comes to laboratory testing. As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, the development of accurate diagnostic tests plays an important role in outbreak management.

Whether a laboratory develops its own test methods or incorporates ones that already exist, there is a lot to be considered and the task bequeathed to them is great. Apart from the general risks of contamination, inadequate equipment or failings in processes that must be rigorously managed, the procedures and tools required for each test can potentially differ.

So how do laboratories demonstrate their competence in a way that is irrefutable?

Role of Conformity Assessment :

Labs demonstrate their testing competency, accuracy through implementing internationally accepted management systems standards and the validation happens through a process called through a system of conformity assessment. Being accredited to a recognized International Standard is a way that laboratories can show that they are competent.

At a time when the accuracy of tests for diseases such as COVID-19 is proving less than perfect, ensuring that laboratories have the highest level of competence is more important than ever. The lengths the industry goes to, with this multi-layered system of international validation, is extremely reassuring as it can help to establish agreed levels of competence and instill trust and confidence in their results. A rare source of comfort in such uncertain times, and one that will prepare us for any new pathogens.

Medical Testing Labs across the world have been implementing ISO 9001 Std , ISO 15189:2012 Std, Minimum Standards which are defined in many countries in the last few years to demonstrate their competency in managing the running of the labs.

QMS is the “secret in the ISO accreditation sauce.”

says Dark Daily Report from USA. That is because the quality management system, once properly implemented by a clinical laboratory or pathology group, provides the foundation for ongoing improvement across every functional area of the organization. All employees in a medical lab accredited to ISO 15189 typically get training in the QMS.

Considering the severity of the pandemic, it’s hightime IAF has published a Global Registry of ISO 9001:2015 Certified, ISO 15189:2012 Accredited Medical Testing Labs to evaluate the effectiveness of the medical labs quality testing infrastructure.

Since ILAC and IAF are getting merged, IAF can take up this responsibility. ISO should infact study the volume of certified, accredited medical labs before releasing any new standards without understanding the ground realities.

Many countries have announced Minimum Standards for Medical Labs in the last few years and WHO has been strongly advocating creating of National Minimal Standards for Medical Testing Labs.

A global assessment is needed to check the effectiveness of the Standards like ISO 15189 which were released almost 2 decades ago. Prior to that Medical Labs were accredited under ISO 17025 Std.

If one considers the Indian scenario, we hardly have 2000 labs which are accredited to ISO 15189 and out of this, around 700-800 labs are accredited during this last one year alone to conduct Covid Testing.  In a country like ours which has a close to 1-1.5 lacs medical labs (estimate only as there is no data, registry available in the country), only 1000 medical labs are accredited till last year. NABL took 10 years to cross 100 accredited labs number and took 20 years to cross 1000 accredited labs mark.

Global story on medical labs accreditation is no better. USA has 2 lacs clinical labs and very small fraction are accredited. Same scenario everywhere. So before launching any new standard, its time for ISO and IAF work together and come out with a Minimum Quality Standard that assures Quality and Accurate testing across the globe before any future pandemic strikes us again !

Our Value Added Experience :

Value Added, in its 3 decades of Mgmt Consulting experiences, has worked closely with 300-400 medical testing labs of all sizes in the last 2 decades guiding them to implement requirements related to various Certifications, Accreditations and has been the maturity level of the labs in implementing the accreditation requirements.

When the National Accreditation body, with more than 20 yrs existence, couldn’t inspire the mkt place ecosystem to adopt Certifications or Accreditations is an clear indication that this sector requires a Quality framework of different spec and ISO 15189 has failed to make an impact at the market place.

Value Added Team has closely worked with growth stage labs in seeking accreditation for Molecular Testing scope during covid times.  We knew how challenging it was to make labs implement the basic QMS at the shortest time possible. Many managed to qualify for Accreditation as Board was granting accreditation on emergency basis.

We have the first hand experience of driving implementation of Medical Labs QMS under various programs. We have also rolled out a Remote Assessment Tool Kit to help the labs gradually transition towards strong internal implementation before taking up any external assessment by third party agencies. This should be the way forward for medical labs in the country to embrace QUALITY. Accreditation can never be the mandate for all Labs but Quality is. First step towards this journey is to adapt, adopt Minimum Standards in the country.

Source : https://www.iso.org/news/ref2617.html