Review Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 4, P893-908, December 2007

Point of Care Testing

      Point of care testing (POCT) is laboratory diagnostic testing performed at or near the site where clinical care is delivered. Delivery of testing outside of the well-controlled environment of the traditional, core laboratory presents several organizational, operational, and technical challenges. POCT is more than just a convenience, because POCT results can be affected by environmental and operator factors requiring consideration of training, competency, method validation, and ongoing comparison with core laboratory results. Sites must be licensed and inspected regularly, and staff must conduct POCT under a physician order and report and bill results so that different testing methods (POCT versus central laboratory) can be distinguished and an appropriate record trail is maintained (linking operator and his/her training/competency with device validation/maintenance/quality control). Managing POCT requires dedicated resources, policies, and multidisciplinary commitment and cooperation to ensure the highest quality diagnostic services.
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