After receiving regular warnings from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare about poor data collection from those who come to labs for COVID-19 testing, the Delhi health department has directed all ICMR-approved labs to not to send any report without patient details. The labs stand to be derecognised if the reports don’t have adequate data.
“Due to missing information, the department is unable to trace patients and their contacts in a timely manner to complete the surveillance process. The matter has been highlighted several times during the meeting with the Ministry officials. The labs will have to take all details of the patients who are visiting the center for the testing,” said a senior official from the health department.
In a review meeting held in the Ministry last month, it was pointed out that the data updation of the cases in Delhi is ‘very poor’. The data suggested that in about 98.96 per cent cases, the data field regarding phone numbers and addresses, sometimes even the name, are left blank.
On Thursday, the department issued guidelines for effective tracking and monitoring of all COVID-19 suspected cases. To avoid overcrowding of samples, no lab is allowed to collect samples more than 10 per cent of its capacity. As per the directives, all the pending samples have to be processed within 24 hours.
To streamline the testing process, the Union health ministry had launched a dedicated RT-PCR mobile-based application for labs to fill the data at the point of sample collection. On Wednesday, Delhi made it mandatory for all collection and testing centers to download the app starting Friday.
“The samples collected in 24 hours must be processed not later than 48 hours. All collection centers should fill in complete details on the mobile application else the samples will not be accepted. Similarly, all labs have to download the app and ensure details of the patients are duly filled,” a senior official said.
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