New Delhi, July 5: To regulate the quality of diagnosis in labs, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has issued a directive that mandates all lab reports be signed by a qualified MBBS doctor registered with either the MCI or a state medical council.
The MCI in it's latest order has specified that "All reports/letters have to be signed/countersigned by persons registered with MCI/State Councils." MCI issued the statement in response to a three-year-old query from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), which is a constituent board of Quality Council of India.
It wanted to know if M.Sc-PhD candidates not registered with the MCI can sign lab reports. This would include experts with PhD degrees in medical microbiology, medical biochemistry, life sciences, applied biology, cytogenetics and biotechnology.
"We prefer getting tests done at our diagnostic lab because of the assured quality. We can't judge the infrastructure or qualification of the staff in other labs, especially in those in hole-in-the-wall places," said a doctor from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
"We even get an ECG or an echo repeated at the hospital because very often, the person conducting the test or preparing the report is a lab technician who is not qualified to assess the results," he said.
"In many cases, approving signatures on a wrong analysis result in false positives of dengue or malaria and have led to wrong treatment," said Dr Rajesh Mane of Maharashtra Association of Practicing Pathologists and Microbiologists (MAPPM), an umbrella body of qualified pathologists.