Sankalp Labs - Gearing up for NABL Accreditation Labs began operations in February 2021, in the midst of the second wave of the CoViD-19 pandemic. Despite the extended lockdowns, massive disruption to logistics, and constant delays from our vendors - the lab operations never stopped. From the very beginning, it was envisioned to provide the highest quality diagnostic services - including biochemistry, serology, haematology, molecular biology, etc, to all our patients. 

But with so many thousands of labs in every city, why bother building yet another Lab to test blood and blood products? Yet another lab that looks at complete blood count? We might be offering the same services as others. However, here, we get the value of clinical insight in exchange for the promise of always delivering the highest quality. 

As a Lab, we bring surety to our Clinical Team. Our reports are accurate, reliable and released only after expert scrutiny. With a clear clinical context, the Labs provides personalized impressions into each test result. Through conversations with the Clinical Teams, the Labs can cater to specific requests by the doctors, thereby putting the experience and knowledge of the Labs to maximum use for patient outcomes. We can integrate the family history, patient clinical history, and doctor’s wisdom into a focussed effort that is patient-centric. This crosstalk between the clinical team and Labs generates deep learnings and puts us closer to our goal of a Thalassemia Free India. Eventually, Sankalp Labs aims to be the reference centre of the country for  Haematology and Oncology testing.

But that goal will not come easy. At every step of the way, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are doing the best for our patients. We have therefore a clear commitment to quality. Out of these 75,000+ labs across the country, only about 1% are accredited by NABL. Sankalp Labs, by design, follows international standards and fulfils all criteria of quality for accreditation. Be it the external UPS lines for each of our equipment, or the steel topped surfaces for easy sterilization in the molecular labs. These choices weren’t made because they were easy, but because they represent a step towards our true goals. Each choice at the Labs is made keeping in mind international standards of quality. 

It has been just under 6 months of operations, and the Labs are already reported over 3,000+ reports containing 10,000+ individual tests or test panels including tests for Serology, Biochemistry, Molecular Diagnostics, etc

Additionally, in line with international quality standards, the Pathology Lab also began participating in NeuQAP - Neuburg and Anand Diagnostics Quality Assurance Program. These are external quality assurance programs that ensure that our reporting is on par with accredited, qualified Indian laboratories. Since June we have been regularly receiving their samples of unknown values/nature, and running our routine tests. This allows us to benchmark ourselves and correct any deviations in reporting parameters. 

In the last two months, we have gained confidence in our operations and processes. So, on the 14th of August, we invited a NABL certified external auditor to our laboratory. Dr Sangeetha from NIMHANS, who holds the position of Senior Clinical Pathologist in the department of transfusion medicine and has been working with NIMHANS since 2011 was here as an inspector. She has been running a NABL accredited diagnostics lab in NIMHANs for the last several years.

 The external audit is a required process in our journey for accreditation and is intended to be an exercise where we justify the quality of our work and identify any non-conformities to NABL guidelines. 

The day began with Dr Sangeetha taking a tour of the BMJH Center for Haemotology and Oncology, on the 7th floor in Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital. Intro to the unit and floor walk around was done.

Once back in the conference room, Dr Sangeetha explained her agenda for the day. She was here as an external auditor from NABL and was going to be brutal in ensuring that our Labs did not deviate from the quality that NABL demanded of its accredited Labs. 

Dr Sangeetha had come prepared - along with an exam pad and a thorough checklist from NABL to be verified at the site. Our introduction to Sankalp Labs began with explaining the ideology behind paperless record keeping. After looking at BMTPlus and the Labs Information Management Systems (LIMS), Dr Sangeetha was visibly impressed. It was hard for her to believe that all of our records - starting with employee records through to reports for Creatinine levels - all were electronically managed and maintained.

As a result of our simple yet localized information management, we did not have to leave the Meeting Room for most of the audit. Just sitting in her chair, Dr Sangeetha was able to verify almost all our documentation. 

One by one, Dr Sangeetha verified the NABL requirements and signed them off. She asked to see our external quality assurances reports - and we provided them gracefully. She asked to verify if the instruments’ controls and calibrators were run regularly - and the reports were immediately available. 

At every step, our leadership had clearly identified the right action to be taken and laid out the plan. The audit was completed seamlessly and Dr Sangeeta also expressed that she would love to be associated with Sankalp in several ways. 

Sankalp Labs will always be dynamic in it’s approach to update itself as the need arises and offer the best quality services.

Patrika Section