oa African Journal of Laboratory Medicine - Data connectivity : a critical tool for external quality assessment - : lessons from the field

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



Point-of-care (POC) tests have been useful in increasing access to testing and treatment monitoring for HIV. Decentralising testing from laboratories to hundreds of sites around a country presents tremendous challenges in training and quality assurance. In order to address these concerns, companies are now either embedding connectivity in their new POC diagnostic instruments or providing some form of channel for electronic result exchange. These will allow automated key performance and operational metrics from devices in the field to a central database. Setting up connectivity between these POC devices and a central database at the Ministries of Health will allow automated data transmission, creating an opportunity for real-time information on diagnostic instrument performance as well as the competency of the operator through external quality assessment. A pilot programme in Zimbabwe shows that connectivity has significantly improve the turn-around time of external quality assessment result submissions and allow corrective actions to be provided in a timely manner. Furthermore, by linking the data to existing supply chain management software, stock-outs can be minimised. As countries are looking forward to achieving the 90-90-90 targets for HIV, such innovative technologies can automate disease surveillance, improve the quality of testing and strengthen the efficiency of health systems.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error