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POC testing in the emergency department: Strategies to improve clinical and operational outcomes

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Emergency departments (ED) are challenged by increasing patient visits, overcrowding and prolonged length of stay (LOS). The cause of these problems is multifactorial. Delays in the laboratory are often perceived as contributing to delays in care and increased LOS. Implementation of selected point-of-care tests in the ED has been shown to improve ED operations and reduce ED-LOS. To accomplish these outcomes it is important to choose laboratory tests that directly impact a clinical decision or decrease wait times in patient queues existing within the flow of the clinical evaluation. Appropriate test selection can therefore achieve significant improvements in the efficiency of ED clinical operations.

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