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Important considerations for choosing the right diagnostic center

February 21, 2023

Importance of diagnostics in the healthcare "value chain"

A healthcare "value chain" begins when a diagnostic test is applied to the suspicion/screening of a disease. The information obtained from the diagnostic test might help in better patient outcomes in deciding if further testing is required or if no further action is needed. It can also help in selecting patient-tailored and cost-effective treatment options, thus potentially avoiding the use of ineffective treatment and reducing the risk of long-term complications. The diagnostic information may also support decisions about plans, and end-of-life patient care.1

Imperative features before choosing a diagnostic center

1. Accurate and timely test results

Accuracy in the test results is a key aspect of the assessment of diagnostic tests. An error in the test results can cause a delay in the timely and effective treatment or being administered incorrect medicines to the patients. Undiagnosed patients can unintentionally spread the disease to others. Early diagnosis can help prevent or stop an outbreak. Further, widespread overuse and misuse of antibiotics lead to antibiotic resistance. Accurate diagnostic test results can help determine if the given antibiotic treatment is appropriate or not.

2 - State-of-the-art facilities and modern-age laboratory diagnostics

A reliable diagnostic center should have new-age technology-driven modern medical tools and techniques. This ensures the accuracy of test reports for each test performed by the center. Innovation in laboratory technology including both novel tests and improvements in equipment and testing techniques have made testing more efficient and automated. Automated techniques offer the advantage of allowing groups of tests, called "panels" to be run on the same sample. Automated instruments can give accurate results for blood tests and urine analysis in the shortest possible time.

3 - Quality system: National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) Accreditation 

One and the key factor for a trustworthy and competent diagnostic center is the implementation of a quality system for patient safety. NABL accreditation provides international appreciation and periodical audits are performed to maintain the quality standards of a laboratory, which leads to a high standard of services for patients and health care providers. Accreditation increases customer confidence in accepting test reports issued by accredited laboratories and providing a guarantee of accurate and reliable test results

4- Qualified medical professionals

A diagnostic center should have a qualified medical staff to deal with your health concerns. The center should have experienced and skilled pathologists, and other medical professionals such as medical assistants, biochemists, and laboratory scientists. These professionals play an important role in facilitating the diagnostic process by performing their tasks.

5. Wide range of available tests at affordable price

A potential diagnostic center should provide a wide spectrum of laboratory testing services ranging from routine testing to highly specialized tests. Routine blood tests, urine analysis, and microbiological tests at affordable prices benefit all patients; and specialized tests such as histopathology, molecular tests, and cytogenetics, provide precise testing in critical patients. Besides, health packages offer a group of selective tests at reasonable costs.

6. Turnaround time (TAT) for test results

Timely delivery of reports is a very important factor for better patient management. Minimum TAT for providing reports is crucial for a diagnostic center to gain attention and recognition from patients and doctors. Timely delivered reports can help doctors in taking timely decisions on further treatment approaches for patients. 

7. Online reports

Lab reports once generated can easily be shared via email or WhatsApp directly to the patient or the doctor, thereby completely removing manual handling procedures, wait time, or traveling to the center to collect the report. 10 With the intervention of LIMS (give full form) in clinical laboratories, instantaneous report results can be shared with the patient.

8. Maintenance of hygiene

Hygiene is necessary for a diagnostic center due to safety concerns and for greater assurance of the quality of results. The overall operational efficiency might improve through cleanliness and orderly arrangement... Medical diagnostic labs must implement strict waste management protocols. The common wastes produced in labs include used syringes and needles, cotton swabs, wipes, and other disposables. They must be discarded in properly labeled bins. Sharp needles and glassware should be separately disposed of to avoid injuries. Biomedical waste should be discarded as per protocols.

9. Easy scheduling of an appointment

It is important that an appointment quickly at the diagnostic center without having to wait for a long time or keep calling back repeatedly. The assistance should be provided to the customers for all the questions about scheduling appointments that may arise during this process, for instance, payment options.

10. Feedback and customer testimonials

Allowing the customers to provide feedback on their experience with the services at the diagnostic centers would help in improving the services. Positive feedback from customers can also help in gaining a reputation amongst customers.

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