A proper dietary and fitness regimen is a prerequisite to healthy living. Today’s fast-paced lives have made several individuals adopt unhealthy food habits. People tend to consume fast or junk food on the go and find no time to exercise. All of these result in poor health outcomes and they fall prey to some type of illness. Pathology labs help determine the cause of a particular disease. A pathology lab performs diagnostic testing and, based on the results, provides you with advice on a treatment that would be the most appropriate. The increase in various ailments can be attributed to numerous factors like erratic climate change, viral infections, quality of food products and erroneous lifestyles. This has brought about a mushrooming of pathology laboratories. The following details will help you understand who can run a pathology lab and the requirements for a pathology lab.
Did you know?India is home to about 1,00,000 laboratories which are a fine mix of radiology centres and pathology laboratories.
What are the requirements for a pathology lab? The key requirement is that individuals have to possess a Master’s Degree in Pathology to become eligible to open a pathology lab. Individuals who possess a degree that is recognised by the Medical Council of India (MCI) can also set up a pathology lab. Recent changes by the Central Government permit MBBS graduates as well as Medical and M.Sc graduates to operate basic laboratories.
Given below are the details of various factors which help establish a successful pathology laboratory:
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Qualifications Required to Open a Pathology Lab
- You should possess an academic degree in pathology recognised by the Medical Council of India (MCI)
- You should obtain a ‘licence to practice’ from the Medical Council of India (MCI)
Some of the pathology lab requirements include employing qualified staff. Your entire staff will have to be qualified in accordance with the required standards of setting up a pathology laboratory. You will require equally qualified personnel across designations like biochemists, assistant pathologists, microbiologists as well as lab technicians. You should recruit staff who have the knowledge of handling the laboratory machines and should be able to manage complex situations, if any. In case you feel they require training in some specific areas, you will have to provide for the same for you to be able to run your operations seamlessly. The recruitment process you employ should possess a Degree or Diploma in medical lab technology.
Registration and Certificates
Registration forms a crucial part of the entire process of setting up a lab. You will have to register yourself either as:
- Limited Liability Enterprise
- Partnership Firm
In addition to the above, you will have to get registered with:
- The Shop and Establishments Act
- Clinical Establishment Act (if this is applicable to the State in which you reside and plan to set the lab)
- Local Biomedical Waste & Disposal Body
- Approval for waste generation from the State Pollution Control Board
- No Objection Certificate from the Fire Department
- No Objection Certificate from the Municipal authorities
- Director of Health Services
- Certificates: Official approval in the form of accreditation, e.g. from Good Clinical Practices.
One of the primary requirements for a pathology lab is feasible premises. The premises you choose to set up a pathology lab should be well-connected and easily accessible. The vicinity should be hygienic and the area should not be congested. The lab should have good ventilation. It should be spacious enough for you to be able to store various equipment in a safe manner and ensure comfortable seating for the patients who visit you. A pathology lab on the ground floor would make for an ideal choice, especially in the case of senior citizens or people with joint pains who would be spared the challenge of taking the stairs. The location can be close to some corporate offices, IT parks, commercial centres or even close to residential complexes. This makes it easy for people to connect. Once they are satisfied with your services, word-of-mouth will help build your brand to a large extent resulting in good revenues.
The layout of your laboratory should be planned to perfection. It should be demarcated according to the services you offer for patients to understand where they need to go. You will have to ensure basic amenities like clean washrooms, good lighting, sanitised rooms at all times, wheelchairs for patients with disabilities and a good water supply.
Quality machines to conduct the various tests should be procured from certified vendors. Some of these include distillation apparatus, colourimeters, semi-auto analyser, blood cell counter, glucometer, stirrer, dispensing scale, among many others. You will also be required to have consumables for blood collection, fridges, pipettes that are calibrated on a regular basis and even stationery. The equipment will vary depending on the type of pathology laboratory you plan to set up. Equipment for a clinical pathology laboratory will differ from the equipment required for a surgical pathology laboratory.
Computers and requisite software to maintain records and a backup of the medical history of all patients. You will have to update the software consistently for flawless storage and retrieval of all the medical records of your diverse patients.
Your investments will vary in accordance with different factors like location, quality of machines, facilities and services. Whether you rent premises or choose to buy the premises, you will have to plan for your finances well in advance. Once you have a perfect blueprint, you can decide whether you would like to avail of a loan as well. Some of your long-term investments would be to invest in modern machinery to be on par with your counterparts and be able to provide efficient services. This will help increase your goodwill and the speedy development of your business.
Brand-building and business promotion
Some effective marketing strategies in a pathology lab setup include:
- Initial promotional activities could be in the form of offering specialised health packages
- Special discounts on important dates like Women’s Day, Children’s Day, Family Day
- Annual family packages at special rates – these would ensure a regular and confirmed stream of income
- Promotional pamphlets in newspapers which are delivered in the neighbourhood
- A good website and a user-friendly app
Benefits of a Pathology Laboratory
Accurate detection of illnesses
- Help to identify the prevailing or likely to develop illness in patients
- Assists individuals to undergo various medical tests as per the prescription given by the individual’s doctor
Medically qualified individuals set up pathology laboratories. They assure you of accurate readings, which help doctors prescribe the necessary medication.
Immediate access to health reports
The digital age has enabled almost everyone to have an online presence. Almost all pathology laboratories can furnish online reports to their respective patients. This provides much relief to patients who find it inconvenient to physically visit the laboratory or are hard-pressed for time.
Customised tests conducted in your home
Several pathology laboratories provide the facility of conducting various tests within the comfort of your home. They send their qualified technicians to conduct the tests at a time selected by you, collect the necessary samples and provide you with accurate results.
The information shared in this article gives you an insight into how to open a pathology lab in India. An increase in various ailments has made it imperative for people to undergo various health check-ups to understand their overall health condition. This has brought about an increase in the demand for such pathology laboratories. These have become indispensable and a boon in the diagnosis of various human illnesses impacting our lives.
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