Chapter 11. Data management and reporting of laboratory results

Mick Mulders


An essential part of the work of every laboratory is to record and manage the test results, quality assurance data, and related information that establishes the output and performance of the laboratory. Laboratory protocols should be in place to clearly outline the processes and methods for generating and maintaining records. The frequency and manner in which laboratory results are reported will vary according to the needs of the recipient, which may be the submitter, local and national public health partners, or WHO Regional offices.

Specific guidance in the area of data management and the preparation and distribution of reports are covered in this chapter. An overview of laboratory quality assurance and quality control, accreditation requirements, and related quality systems such as document control are described in Chapter 12. Quality assurance, quality control, and assessment of laboratory capacity and performance. In addition to recording relevant data and results, the laboratory is responsible for the analysis and interpretation of results, identification of epidemiologic patterns or trends, and the preparation of regular reports. The preparation and transmission of sequence information to global databases (MeaNS/RubeNS) is provided in Chapter 7. Molecular epidemiology of measles and rubella.

The term, data management, encompasses several activities and processes, and is an essential component of any disease surveillance system. WHO regional offices will provide details of specific data reporting requirements appropriate to the level and activities of WHO measles and rubella laboratories within each regional laboratory network.