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Point-of-Care Testing: Meeting the Expectations

Thompson, Karen M. BSc, Grad Dip(MedLabSci); Phlora-Mann, Sandeep BSc(BiomedSci); Mallett, Susan V. MB, BS, FRCA

Point of Care: The Journal of Near-Patient Testing & Technology: March 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 1 - p 47-51
doi: 10.1097/POC.0b013e3181d2d8df
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The use of point-of-care testing (POCT) is increasing, and it is essential that its use is managed appropriately and safely for both patients and staff. There are a number of published guidelines for POCT, and all acknowledge that a quality POCT service is best provided when it is subjected to the same quality standards as the central laboratory. A POCT service should be provided as a supplement to central laboratory testing, with a pathology department overseeing the use of POCT devices within the hospital or trust. A common way for this support to be managed is through a POCT committee with representative membership from all pathology disciplines and the sites where POCT is performed. The goal of POCT management is to produce reliable results with clinical relevance.

There is a distinct need for perioperative POCT to monitor patient homeostasis, particularly for the purpose of assessing blood product requirements during a surgical procedure. In addition, the response to transfusion therapy can be quickly monitored. It has been shown that transfusion algorithms and protocols based on readily available test results reduce perioperative transfusion.

We report our own experience in establishing an accredited point-of-care satellite service within the operating theaters, the benefits observed, and the difficulties encountered.

From the Department of Anesthetics, Royal Free Hospital, Pond St, London.

Reprints: Karen M. Thompson, BSc, Grad Dip(MedLabSci), Department of Anesthetics, Royal Free Hospital, Theatre 9 Laboratory, Pond St, London NW3 2QG, UK. E-mail: karen.thompson@royalfree.nhs.uk.

The authors declare no known conflict of interest in relation to the article enclosed.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.