Aga Khan University Hospital Clinical Laboratories is the national reference and offers a 700-test menu in the areas of haematology, clinical chemistry, microbiology, histopathology, molecular pathology, blood bank and transfusion services. It is well equipped, highly automated, fully computerised and overseen by highly qualified faculty. The three-tier lab system comprises a tertiary lab, STAT labs and phlebotomy stations.
Automation in haematology
Approximately 60-70% of medical decisions are based on laboratory test results. Diagnostic testing is a critically important step towards improving health-care outcomes. In order to increase productivity and deliver rapid testing results, the Aga Khan University Hospital’s Clinical Laboratories, has recently installed automation in haematology. The Section of Haematology, Department of Pathology and Microbiology by using this technology will considerably decrease the variability inherent in a workflow that partially or fully relies on manual specimen handling. This will ultimately result in improving quality, standardising laboratory protocols to validate patient results and decrease the turnaround time of reporting.
Introducing this system in the section of haematology was a daunting endeavor. Laboratory diagnostics is a constantly evolving field, therefore, this system has been designed to meet current testing needs, which can also be configured to handle future demands. Automation will help in reporting “more accurate results, more quickly”. Subsequently these results will impact and improve patient care, which is yet another step forward in quality assurance.
Quality assurance through accuracy and precision in testing
The accuracy and precision of tests are maintained by a strict internal quality assurance programme which is reviewed by consultants and supervisors daily. The laboratory also participates in the external quality assurance programme of the College of American Pathologists (CAP).
A pathology newsletter is circulated each quarter to AKU faculty and referring physicians providing an update on new procedures and tests in the Clinical Laboratories.
Scope of the three-tier lab system comprises:
- 40 qualified and highly trained faculty and over 250 technologists
- Sophisticated and state-of-the-art equipment including laboratory automation in clinical chemistry
- 210 phlebotomy stations in 95 cities and towns in Pakistan, 12 STAT labs in 8 cities of Pakistan and a tertiary lab at the main campus in Karachi
- Processes specimens received from UAE, East Africa and Central Asia
- Performed over 7.9M tests in 2012