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NABL Accreditation – Ensuring confidence in test results

NABL accreditation is increasingly being used by regulators and government to ascertain the quality of products. Accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) can objectively state conformance of product or service to specified requirements.

We have witnessed a tumultuous time in the recent couple of years. People have been affected in one way or the other due to the situation created by the pandemic. This has compelled us to look for ways and means to stay safe and healthy. Incidentally, this has increased information sharing in a big way. Thus, the awareness in common man about health, safety, quality in testing and how to look for confidence in products/services has grown exponentially.

NABL has been conducting awareness programs on accreditation and it has been very satisfying to see our efforts culminate into desired results. Many queries, verifying the authenticity of testing done and demanding that the services they avail are of the highest quality and nothing less is a small step toward building a quality conscious nation. We at NABL (as an accreditation body) had always strived to ensure that the end-user/common man gets the best of services. Accreditation gives confidence in the testing of a product in NABL accredited laboratory as they use NABL symbol on test reports.

NABL could also contribute regarding SARS-CoV-2 RNA virus testing during this pandemic by granting accreditation to more than 1200 private medical testing laboratories. These accredited laboratories could support in testing of more than 16 lakh samples per day and ensuring the access of quality medical testing across the nation. NABL accredited laboratories in testing discipline are catering to testing needs of PPE, masks, ventilators, and medical devices. NABL accredited calibration laboratories are ensuring traceability in measurements of various measuring equipment and medical devices critical to the healthcare sector.

Moving toward ensuring the authenticity of accredited test results, NABL has encouraged laboratories to use NABL symbol in the test reports containing only accredited parameters which provides confidence in the test report to end users. This ensures that the results are valid and metrologically traceable, hence can be relied upon by the customers.

A hurdle currently being faced by accredited laboratories is the question/need for authentication of test reports. We have been receiving feedbacks to develop a mechanism for ensuring that the test reports which are received by the end user are issued by the accredited laboratory and can be authenticated quickly and easily.

To authenticate whether the laboratory is accredited or to check the scope of accreditation of the laboratory. NABL website has a laboratory search option wherein users can check the details and scope of the laboratory and authenticate using the above NABL certificate number. Also, users can scan the QR code made available in the certificate of accreditation issued to the laboratory to authenticate the certificate of accreditation through NABL website. Test reports from accredited laboratories contain NABL Certificate number in format TC-XXXX for testing laboratories, CC-XXXX for calibration laboratories and MC-XXXX for medical laboratories (X being four digits, e.g., 1239) as part of the NABL symbol.

The above mechanism has been helpful to various stakeholders in authenticating accreditation certificate and scope of laboratories. However, we have received feedback from many end-users that the test reports being issued by the laboratories also need to be authenticated.

We have instructed NABL accredited laboratories to provide an authentication mechanism through QR code which authenticates the test report as being issued by the laboratory which issued it thereby ensuring that the end user has a traceable chain of authenticity and maintains confidence in the reported results.

This will prevent the manipulation of test results/calibration data and the circulation of forged test report/calibration certificate in the market. Interest of the consumer/end-user of the product and the reputation/image of the laboratories are also protected.

With the help of laboratory community, NABL has been working toward building a robust accreditation infrastructure in our nation and for strengthening the confidence and trust of common public in test results from NABL accredited laboratories.