Physicians Office Resource Volume 12 Issue 6 - Page 34

6 QUALITY MANAGEMENT OF POINT OF CARE TESTING By Irwin Z. Rothenberg, MBA, MS, CLS(ASCP), Technical Writer / Quality Advisor, COLA Resources, Inc. With emerging technological innovations in healthcare, including smartphone apps, biosensors, lab-on-a chip, and wearable devices—all of which offer a closer connection to the patient—point-of-care (POC) technologies are quickly becoming part of the transformation of the healthcare landscape. The driving concept in support of point-of-care testing (POCT) is to bring testing closer to the patient and results conveniently and quickly to the provider to expedite diagnosis and subsequent treatment. POCT allows for faster clinical decisions in hospitals, physicians’ offices, ambulances, patient homes, and in the field. The College of American Pathologists (CAP) defines POCT as “testing that is performed near or at the site of a patient with the result leading to a possible change in the care of the patient.” POCT’s popularity has risen in recent years due to its convenience, timeliness, and potential to improve patient 34 outcomes. In fact, POCT is estimated to be increasing at 10-12% annually, compared to a 6-7% annual increase for other clinical laboratory testing. Used appropriately, POCT can be a key component in meeting the goals of simultaneously improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs. Hundreds of tests once considered too complex for POCT are now routinely performed outside the laboratory. Sensor technologies enable the rapid analysis of blood samples for many critical care assays, including: • Blood gases/electrolytes • Cardiac markers • Cholesterol/lipids • Coagulation monitoring (INR; ACT, Heparin; Hemostasis Assessment) • Drugs of abuse testing (DOA) • Fecal occult blood