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Journal Scan

July 2015

Point of care testing – a review article

Summarized from Larsson A, Greig-Pylypczuk R, Huisman A. The state of point of care testing: a european perspective. Ups J Med Sci 2015; 120: 1-10.

As the authors of a recent wide-ranging review of the subject make clear, point-of-care testing (POCT) has greatly expanded, in terms of both prevalence and functionality, over past decades. They report a predicted average growth rate in the use of POCT in the US of >15 % over the coming years. 

The three authors (one from Sweden, one from Holland, and the third from the UK) provide a European perspective on current perceived advantages of POCT, as well as some of the challenges that must be addressed if POCT is to have optimum impact on delivery of healthcare in the future. 

By way of introduction the authors first define POCT, describe current European regulation of POCT, and briefly convey the extent of current POCT application in terms of available tests and variety of clinical settings where it is used. There is undoubted consensus that the use of POCT is associated with reduced turnaround time (TAT), i.e. the time between sampling and receipt of results. 

But as the authors stress, benefit of POCT can only be truly realized if decreased TAT is translated into improved quality and/or efficiency of patient care. 

The greater part of the article is devoted to review of clinical studies that have sought to address this issue. Further issues discussed under the heading “Challenges to optimizing the benefits from POCT” include: management of POCT; adequate and effective training of non-laboratory staff; effective quality assurance programs; and robust policy of documentation. 

The authors provide or cite recommendations aimed at meeting each of these challenges. In a final paragraph the authors suggest that governmental pressures and technological advancements will drive the growth of POCT both within and outside the hospital in the future; they caution that the challenges already facing implementation of POCT will be “greatly amplified”. 

A useful concise review supported by 59 references that include many recent clinical studies of POCT.

 

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May contain information that is not supported by performance and intended use claims of Radiometer's products. See also Legal info.

Chris Higgins

has a master's degree in medical biochemistry and he has twenty years experience of work in clinical laboratories.

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