Since 2006, APHL and CDC Vietnam have collaborated on a successful long-term laboratory information management system (LIMS) project. Together, the team has configured, deployed and supported this system, OpenELIS, in conjunction with local partners, with the goal of transitioning project responsibilities to the government of Vietnam by the end of 2018.
Funded through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEFPAR), 35 clinical and reference laboratories throughout Vietnam have employed OpenELIS successfully. Based on informal assessments conducted by OpenELIS users, the system has been shown to reduce transcription errors, decrease results turnaround time and support management operations and workflow. Additionally, APHL and CDC-Vietnam have demonstrated lowered OpenELIS maintenance and support costs over the last decade using APHL technical assistance and contractual agreements with local partners.
To ensure the smooth shift of LIMS activities to the Government of Vietnam, CDC Vietnam and the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) requested that APHL develop a plan to transfer the LIMS project to VAAC and the newly created Ministry of Health (MOH), IT division.
An APHL team of Michelle Meigs, Reshma Kakkar, consultant Jan Flowers and in-country CDC staff Ken Landgraf developed a LIMS adoption and policy analysis tool to assess existing facility level policies that support the full operation of OpenELIS within a laboratory, taking into account parallel systems that may be in use to support patient care, as well as to determine processes needed to ensure a successful transition.
The team collected information from six laboratories in Vietnam, distributed between the northern and southern regions. APHL presented the findings at a stakeholders’ meeting in Hanoi with over 60 participants including leadership from VAAC and Ministry of Health IT division. The assessment results showed that laboratories were using the system at about 80-90% capacity but sites that were early adopters of OpenELIS were slightly behind the curve in terms of policy and facility-based IT support.
Discussions at the stakeholders’ meeting led to valuable feedback from IT and laboratory staff, management and the MOH IT division. Training, support and coordination from MOH leaders, LIMS sustainability models to support laboratories, and a commitment to providing quick, effective system support were among the priorities identified.
At the close of the meeting, the MOH IT division committed to supporting OpenELIS as the Ministry-approved LIMS. APHL, CDC-Vietnam and MOH IT division plan to continue work on LIMS training, system integration solutions and policy development.
Having secured a clear commitment to supporting OpenELIS, APHL expects to transition the project to the Government of Vietnam, MOH IT division by the 2018 deadline.