Operational Research

Over the past two decades, significant resources have been invested in the improvement of Caribbean medical and public health laboratory systems, structures and services. To date, however, limited focus has been placed on the generation of scientific evidence to support the many interventions. As we seek to improve laboratory services across the Caribbean, it becomes increasingly important that regional institutions scale up implementation research to allow for evidence-based interventions based on informed decision-making.

Pilot studies conducted between 2002-2007 generated preliminary information on issues impacting Caribbean laboratory services such as laboratory quality implementation cost-effectiveness ; errors impacting laboratory quality; factors impacting recruitment and retention; factors influencing use of laboratory services by clinicians ; criteria by which clinicians judge a laboratory’s quality, readiness of medical technology graduates for the workplace and assessment of workload issues including factors that impact staff perception of heavy workloads. The CMLF will continue to identify and pursue these important questions.

More recent research conducted by CMLF from 2011 and continuing under the CARICOM Global Fund Round 9 Project, has essentially focused on the evaluation of quality systems and structures including biosafety and laboratory information systems capacity at the governance and individual laboratory levels. Identifying the quality gaps that need to be urgently addressed has become increasingly critical to the development of relevant 21st century interventionary strategies.