Are you being diagnosed correctly?

New Delhi: When it comes to medical care, no one wants to compromise. Everyone wants to avail the best possible facilities as per their capacity.

But in an era where medical expenses and complications are mounting with each passing day and news of malpractices by even the best names in the industry have become an almost daily affair, the customer should be aware of the various possibilities of malpractices in the diagnostic process also. After all, correct diagnosis is the first step towards correct treatment.

“In healthcare, a brand needs to be 100% honest with their customers. Diagnostic companies should offer accessible, affordable services while ensuring accuracy”, said Dr. Manjula, Head Quality, Healthians.

“What is worse is that the curse of wrong diagnosis is very difficult to break. Incorrect diagnosis will lead to inaccurate treatment, resulting in prolonged treatment, leading to complications due to wrong medicines, and the burden of unwanted expenses”, she added.

The diagnostic sector in India is thronged with small labs; few recognised and most unrecognised. Rather, less than 1% of diagnostic labs in India are NABL accredited and the situation is same for rural, semi-urban or urban cities.

Judging the right diagnostic lab that follows correct practices and is cost effective is important. There are two deciding factors, like the two sides to the coin. One is quality, the other price; both together give the coin its worth.

Accuracy of the report is directly dependant on the processes followed by the lab, quality of lab equipment, skills and qualification of the technicians. Diagnostic labs where right process is followed, have latest upgraded equipments with regular control/calibration and machine automation will ensure near zero errors.

As per National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) standards, depending on the sample load per day, all pathology labs have to run two levels of controls per machine per day. Labs largely save on control and calibration cost by not running the required number of controls, hence compromising on accuracy.

Next is the sample collection process where human error can turn things around. Correct handling of the sample, its temperature control, timely submission of samples and hygiene are important factors that can affect accuracy of the reports to a great extent.

Simple act of not shaking the blood sample or shaking it rigorously can make it useless for analysis. Here, the qualification, skills and training of the phlebotomist and the pathologist play a big role.

Price is another major deciding factor. The more the cost, the better the lab quality, is the most common myth surrounding the diagnostic sector. Huge cuts and commissions are offered to recommend a particular lab for test or labs are run on franchise model, wherein the franchise commission is high. In either case, almost 30-40% of the price paid by the consumer is used in paying commissions. (ANI)