Biomedical expanding

Biomedical expanding

BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, August 30, 2014

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BIOMEDICAL Caledonia Medical Laboratory has added six collection centres to its network over the last 14 months.


This brings the total number of locations used to collect blood and other samples of human body fluids to 45.


What's more, the company is opening up at least six more centres in order to have a collection point in every parish. Biomedical is now in eight parishes — Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St James, St Thomas and St Ann.


The testing facility has been expanding since it was accredited by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) last year June.


"The laboratory has undergone considerable changes to become more service-oriented with much emphasis being placed on quality and rapid turnaround time of test results," said Barbara Hendriks, managing director of Biomedical.


The four-decade-old laboratory is filling a gap created by an inefficient public health system.


Biomedical can turn around blood work in a day, whereas tests performed at major health facilities, such as the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) could take up to two months to return results.


"Patients have been recommended to our labs and persons have been responding well to our customer service and the various tests that we offer," she said.


Some services, such as DNA testing, are offered through a partnersip with US-based Quest Diagnostics, the University of Miami, and other overseas labs.


Hendricks said there are facilities where those types of tests could be set up in Jamaica, but they weren't considered to be cost effective up to now. Her company is now looking at how it will respond to the growing demand for DNA tests, which are mainly performed to satisfy requirements, such as confirming parentage, for foreign embassies.


Biomedical now tests 500 patients a day, or approximately 150,000 patients per year.


With a staff complement of 120 individuals, the company hopes to employ more individuals in the capacity of phlebotomists and medical technologists as expansions continue.



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