The Virology Laboratories of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, has been equipped with a digital laboratory information system to enable it to expand its COVID-19 testing capacity.
The SchuyLab digital Laboratory Information System (LIS), installed by the Healthcare Federation of Ghana (HFG), will expand COVID-19 testing capacity at Noguchi by over 30 percent and increase the speed of delivering test results.
It will also strengthen the traceability, efficiency, confidentiality, archiving and retrieval of results.
The installation of the system is the first phase of the “LIS for Ghana” Project, with a similar installation expected to be done at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL) in Accra this year.
The “LIS for Ghana” Project is being implemented at more than GH¢600,000.00 (US$100,000).
Speaking at the opening of the system in Accra, Dr. Rosemary Keatley, Managing Director of Medlab Services Ghana Ltd and a Board member of HFG, said the project would have a major multiplier effect, including the building of sustainable capacity to manage the COVID-19 pandemic on behalf of the people.
Professor Abraham Anang, Director of Noguchi, expressed gratitude to Dr. Keatley and the project team, as well as donors for the installation of a state-of-the-art system.
“We are ramping up the rate of COVID-19 testing and the SchuyLab system will automate the logging of samples, verification of test results and archiving of data, which previously had to be done manually,” he added.
Madam Janet Chennault, Vice-President of Schuyler House, Inc. said the company was pleased to contribute its quota towards Ghana’s fight against the pandemic.
She added that Schuyler House would continue to make good tools that could be used to increase the efficiency of health care and improve the human condition.
Mr. Julian Opuni, Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Ghana, for his part, said living up to the Bank’s brand promise of ‘Together We’re More’, it would continue to support the government and other institutions that were at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
“We believe that it is very important to support Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research with modern equipment that will increase their testing capacity to help Ghana defeat the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
SchuyLab was developed by the US software developer Schuyler House Inc, a CompuGroup Medical company, based in California and has been installed in more than 1,000 laboratories worldwide, including the US, Canada, the Caribbean, East Asia and Africa.
The system has been in use at Synlab Ghana Ltd (formerly Medlab Ghana Ltd) since 2011.
The installation of the LIS project is 80 percent funded by private donors with the remainder provided by the COVID-19 National Trust Fund.
Notable donors include the Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund, Fidelity Bank Ghana Ltd, Sir Sam Jonah, the Leibinger family of Germany, Medlab Services Ghana Ltd, SchuylerHouse Inc., and some anonymous donors in Switzerland.
A Laboratory Information System is an automated, integrated system for registering laboratory specimens, tracking and reporting test samples, releasing results, and archiving data.
Experts say registration with bar codes would limit errors at the pre-analytic phase and increases efficiency.
Also, Lab instruments are connected directly online to the computer system to scan the sample barcode and know what test to perform so that transcription error is reduced to virtually zero.
Additionally, it allows for patient records to be maintained in a permanent, confidential computer file, allowing auditing of results.
Under the system, archiving and export of results are done automatically, allowing analysis by epidemiologists at Ghana Health Services, while the system Quality Control can be monitored automatically.
The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research is Ghana’s leading biomedical research institute.
Its Virology Department can perform 4,300 tests/day, over half of the overall daily COVID-19 testing in Ghana.
Meanwhile, the Healthcare Federation of Ghana aims to improve access to good-quality and affordable healthcare for Ghanaian citizens by acting as the unified voice of the private Healthcare sector.
It advocates government patient-centered policy and the involvement of the private sector. HFG’s members include health service providers, healthcare organisations, pharmaceutical industry representatives, insurers, medical professional associations, and hospitals.