Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Point of Care Testing—Current and Emerging Quality Perspectives

O’Kane, Maurice J. MD

doi: 10.1097/POC.10.1097/POC.0000000000000008
Review Article

The volume and repertoire of point-of-care testing (POCT) is increasing rapidly, and it is now used in a variety of settings, including patient self-testing. Point-of-care testing offers the significant advantage of rapidly available test results, which have the potential to expedite clinical decision making and improve patient outcomes. Modification of traditional patient care pathways may be required to attain the maximum clinical benefit from POCT. Although POCT simplifies the testing process, it may be more prone to error than conventional laboratory testing. Operator-related error has emerged as a significant risk factor. Efforts to minimize POCT-related quality errors should focus on better and more robust instrument design with increased automation, improved training, and assessment of POCT operators and an enhanced regulatory and governance framework. A key quality measure is the impact of POCT on clinical outcomes, but this generally has been less well documented. Evidence on the effect of self-monitoring of blood glucose in diabetes and self- International Normalized Ratio testing for patients on long-term anticoagulant therapy in improving clinical outcomes measures highlight the potential for POCT to enhance patient care.

From the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory, Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry, N.Ireland, BT 47 6SJ.

Reprints: Maurice J. O’Kane, MD, Clinical Chemistry Laboratory, Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry, N Ireland, BT 47 6SJ. E-mail:

The author is the chief executive officer of the Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre, which has undertaken commissioned research for Nova Biomedical. MOK received an honorarium from the American Association of Clinical Chemistry for delivering the lecture on which this paper is based.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins