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Biomedical first lab to be accredited

Published:Wednesday | June 26, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Biomedical Caledonia Medical Lab Limited, one of the oldest labs in Jamaica, has been accredited by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), having achieved the ISO-15189 international standard for quality and competence.

This is the seventh accreditation certificate presented by the JANAAC since its establishment in 2008, but the first in the medical field.

With the accreditation, Bio-medical Caledonia received a licence valid for four years. The lab will undergo three annual surveillance visits during the four-year cycle and a reassessment visit at the end of the fourth year to determine if the licence will be renewed.

Marguerite Domville, chief executive officer of JANAAC, said the accreditation requires that the lab produce accurate test results and conduct business to ensure "proper clinical management using appropriate laboratory procedures with a respect for ethics, confidentiality, and the safety of the patient".

Barbara Hendriks, managing director of Biomedical Caledonia, said the recognition positions the company to grow its operation. The lab operation is more than four decades old.

"It is not that other labs are not doing good work. What this means for us is that we now have international recognition and our clients will feel more confident with the service we give to them, and I can see us getting more business as a result of that," said Hendriks.

She said currently, the lab processed over 2,000 tests daily but that the existing facility could handle much more.

"Right now, we are equipped to deal with what we are getting, and we could manage even if there is a mad rush on the facility," she said.

Minister of Industry Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton urged other labs to pursue accreditation as an investment in future business, saying that local labs could eventually tap into the global medical tourism industry, estimated at US$40 billion, as well as the diagnostic and pathology business in India, valued at US$864 million.

"A requirement for this, however, is the accreditation standard ISO-15189, the ultimate seal of approval," Hylton said.

"I urge medical laboratories to move with alacrity towards becoming accredited. Every operation, every transaction must be able to stand up to global testing and scrutiny in order for us to compete with other jurisdictions."

It should be noted that while Biomedical is the first lab to achieve this standard in Jamaica there are other accredited labs in the region as this process is mandatory in other territories.

marcella.scarlett@gleanerjm.com