To ensure quality, equitable cancer care, all laboratories in Porto Alegre must implement and participate in quality control programmes. The TNM Classification of Malignant Tumours is still not systematically used, and there are no standardised pathology reports for cancer.
Another key priority is to track samples and provide an accurate time estimate for a test, as well as interpret and report on them. The information systems in most hospitals are still not integrated, and in some cases reporting is still done manually, on paper.
To improve the quality of pathology laboratories, including the traceability of specimens, tests and reports.
The project team developed a quality control programme that included both standard operating procedures and a standard pathology reporting tool for cancer care, which received technical support from both local and international partners. This will help improve the overall quality and standardisation of procedures in all the city’s pathology departments that provide cancer care.
The Municipal Secretariat of Health published a collective requirement for local laboratories to observe the manual’s requirements within 120 days. The manual has received institutional support from the Porto Alegre Municipality (Secretariat of Health), the Brazilian Pathology Society and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).
This manual is an important milestone for pathology laboratories in the city of Porto Alegre. In essence, it sets a new standard for quality to help laboratories deliver the best possible diagnostic information. In turn, this will inform cancer patients’ treatment plans and improve cancer care in Porto Alegre.