oa African Journal of Laboratory Medicine - A comprehensive review of the SLMTA literature part 2 : measuring success : review article

Volume 5 Number 2
  • ISSN : 2225-2002
  • E-ISSN: 2225-2010



Since its introduction in 2009, the Strengthening Laboratory Management Toward Accreditation (SLMTA) programme has been implemented in 617 laboratories in 47 countries.

We completed a systematic review of the published literature on SLMTA. The review consists of two companion papers; this article examines quantitative evidence presented in the publications along with a meta-analysis of selected results.
We identified 28 published articles with data from SLMTA implementation. The SLMTA programme was evaluated through audits based on a standard checklist, which is divided into 12 sections corresponding to the 12 Quality System Essentials (QSEs). Several basic service delivery indicators reported by programmes were also examined. Results for various components of the programme were reviewed and summarised; a meta-analysis of QSE results grouped by the three stages of the quality cycle was conducted for 126 laboratories in 12 countries.
Global programme data show improved quality in SLMTA laboratories in every country, with average improvements on audit scores of 25 percentage points. Meta-analysis identified Improvement Management as the weakest stage, with internal audit (8%) and occurrence management (16%) showing the lowest scores. Studies documented 19% - 95% reductions in turn-around times, 69% - 93% reductions in specimen rejection rates, 76% - 81% increases in clinician satisfaction rates, 67% - 85% improvements in external quality assessment results, 50% - 66% decreases in nonconformities and 67% increases in staff punctuality.
The wide array of results reported provides a comprehensive picture of the SLMTA programme overall, suggesting a substantive impact on provision of quality laboratory services and patient care. These comprehensive results establish a solid data-driven foundation for program improvement and further expansion.

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