Practical Examples of Point-of-Care Testing Technology Use in Rural and Remote Australia

Mrs Brooke Spaeth1

1Flinders University International Centre For Point-of-care Testing, Bedford Park, Australia


Introduction:Pathology services are generally situated in large urban or metropolitan centres with turnaround time for pathology results to a rural or remote health services taking 24 hours up to 2 weeks. This delay causes issues with loss-to-follow-up for chronic and infectious disease management and is impractical for acute care. Patients requiring regular pathology testing are sometime forced to move closer to pathology services.

Point-of-Care Pathology Testing (POCT) technology offers practical advantages in rural in remote locations through providing immediate pathology results at the time of patient care.

What is happening in your project(s):

The Flinders University International Centre for POCT manages a range of POCT networks in rural and remote Australia covering chronic, acute and infectious disease testing.

Quality Assurance in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Medical Services (QAAMS) Program: National chronic disease management and screening program using POCT to test for HbA1c for diabetes management and urine ACR to screen for early kidney disease.

Northern Territory POCT Program: Territory wide acute care testing program using a POCT device to test for a range of acute care markers such as troponin I, blood gases, electrolytes, lactate, creatinine and haemoglobin. The benefits of this program include, increased patient safety and significant cost savings through preventing uncessessay medical evacuations.

Infectious disease programs: Sexually transmitted infections program testing for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomonas, providing a reduced time to treat for patients with these transmissible diseases.  Program testing for total white cell and 5-part differential white cell count, providing immediate results for a range of chronic and acute conditions such as sepsis, respiratory tract infections, appendicitis and parasitic infections.

Conclusion: These programs to provide practical examples of the use of POCT and its clinical applications and benefits to remotely located patients.




Brooke joined the International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing in February 2010 as a Research Assistant after completing an honours project with the Centre evaluating the implementation and effectiveness of POCT in remote health centres of Northern Territory.

Brooke is now the Point-of-Care Coordinator for the Northern Territory POCT Program.

In 2015, Brooke was successful in her first grant from the Emergency Medicine Foundation to evaluate the cost effectiveness of the Northern Territory POCT Program. Results from the grant research were positive, indicating potential cost savings to the Northern Territory health system were in excess of $20 million per annum.