Point-of-care testing (POCT) is a form of testing in which the analysis is carried out at the point where healthcare is provided, close or near to the patient, in various clinical departments. The key objective of POCT is to provide diagnostic results more quickly, facilitating faster clinical decision-making and improved patient outcomes.
The Point of Care Testing Department is based at St George’s Hospital and operates across all other South West London Pathology (SWLP) sites. The POCT team supports all departments at our three trusts and beyond, including A&E and intensive care.
The SWLP POCT service covers a wide range of POCT devices and analysers including:
- Blood gas analysers
- Influenza A/B and RSV testing
- C-reactive protein
- Creatinine and eGFR
- Activated prothrombin time
- Cardiac Biomarkers
Speed of diagnosis and treatment: POCT testing is very efficient, as the test is performed at the bedside or in close proximity to where the patient is being treated. This means that the treating clinician is able to see the results quickly and make rapid decisions about patient care.
The process is also more efficient for clinicians as, due to the speed of testing, they do not need to re-familiarise themselves with each case when test results come back.
Expanded testing capabilities: POCT means that laboratory testing can be provided in a wide variety of settings in both primary and secondary care.
Specimen stability and ease of handling: POCT reduces the risk of sample deterioration, as the tests are performed rapidly once the sample has been taken.
- Reduced potential for sample deterioration, since most POCT is initiated and performed rapidly once the sample is obtained.
- As POCT sample volumes are 1ml or less there less blood loss and anaemia for patients requiring frequent testing, as well as being beneficial for neonatal and paediatric samples.
Portable devices: The portable size of POCT devices means that less space is needed for operation and storage. It also means that testing can be carried out in a wide variety of locations that would previously have not been possible. POCT can be flexible to meet the diversity of medical needs.
- Diminished space requirements for operation and storage.
- A wide range of tests can be done using the same analysers
- Flexibility to meet the diversity of medical needs.
Improved patient outcomes and satisfaction: The immediate availability of test results means that patients can be diagnosed more effectively and can be moved through the system faster. This allows more patients to be treated in a shorter timeframe.
Economic and operational outcomes: The use of POCT can result in:
- shorter lengths of stay in emergency departments
- shorter lengths of admission
- efficiency in the use of hospital capacity
- the avoidance of unnecessary admissions
- more effective use of outpatient and rapid access clinics.
Taking care closer to home: POCT can be performed in many settings in primary care, including:
- GP practices and health centres
- Outreach clinics
- Community centres
- Community health surveillance programmes
- Urgent care centres and minor injury units
- Ambulatory care settings
- Health and leisure centres
- Nursing ad care homes
- Emergency care transport vehicles
- Armed forces centres.
What SWLP can offer
- Bespoke quality-assured POCT solutions tailored to the specific clinical requirement of your department, GP practice or organisation and encompassed with robust quality and governance frameworks.
- Expertise in utilising and incorporating POCT in your existing patient pathways to translate into operational and economic efficiencies and improved patient outcomes and satisfaction.
- Comprehensive implementation plan including validation and verification, documentation, internal quality control, external quality assurance, reagent management, training and audit. All in accordance with national guidelines (UKAS, CQC and MHRA).
- Full connectivity to the patient’s electronic records and integration with existing information management systems.
- On-going training and competency assessment of the operators.
- Technical support and maintenance and servicing of all POCT devices and analysers.
- Contingency and business continuity plans.
- Comprehensive contract management with KPIs, operational and financial reports.
If you want to find out more about the POCT solutions that SWLP can offer you can contact:
SWLP POCT Manager
Telephone: 020 8725 4450