The Challenges and Barriers to the Integration of Laboratory Services in Iran from Laboratory Experts’ Point of View
AbstractBackground: Laboratory services fragmentation creates problems such as non-accountability for costs and quality, not being patient-centered and unsustainability of services in long run. Therefore, health systems consider laboratory services integration an inevitable way. This study aimed to investigate the challenges and barriers to the integration of laboratory services in Iran. Methods: This qualitative case study was conducted in 2016. Using purposive sampling, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 34 informed participants. Each interview lasted between 30 to 60 min. Acceptability, transferability, reliability, and verifiability were used to assess the validity, accuracy and reliability of qualitative data. Framework approach was used to analyze data. Results: Lack of economy of scale, unfair access, lack of grading, low quality, development of national strategies to create an integrated network of laboratories, criteria of the laboratories establishment, creation of necessary infrastructure, empowering the private sector and standardization of indicators were considered the most important problems of laboratory services integration in Iran; they were classified into two main themes. Conclusion: Identified issues are challenges which adversely impact the integration of laboratory services. Therefore, providing infrastructures with increased cooperation between various organizations to increase access to laboratory services in the form of an integrated network is essential.
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