Mrs Brooke Spaeth1
1Flinders University International Centre For Point-of-care Testing, Bedford Park, Australia
In remote and isolated locations, the increased distance to laboratory services results in significant delays for pathology results. These delays can result in loss to follow-up of patients with chronic disease, delays in treatment and increased rates of transmission for infectious diseases, and for acute care the delays are impractical.
Point-of-Care Testing (POCT) extends to reach of the laboratory to even the most remote settings with diagnostic test results immediately available to inform clinical decisions.
What has been our experience?
POCT provides more patient centred care as the test results can be discussed with the patient immediately, therefore eliminating the stress and anxiety of waiting for test results and providing a more convenient service as the patient is not required to return for a follow-up to obtain test results and changes to clinical management.
In remote and isolated settings, POCT provides the only means of obtaining timely and critical diagnostic test results.
The scope of POCT now reaches a variety of acute, chronic and infectious conditions as well as many clinical settings as summarised below.
Hospital-based: Emergency department, Intensive care unit, neonatal unit, Coronary care unit, Operating theatre, Ward and Palliative care.
Community-based:General practice/physician office, Pharmacy, Community health clinic, Aboriginal medical service, Aged care, Palliative care, Home care and Health promotion.
Other settings: Disaster management/International Aid, Antarctic/at Sea, Military/Defence Force, Space research, Mining, Medical retrieval unit, Roadside (drug and alcohol testing), Sports medicine and Prison health.
The Flinders University International Centre for POCT has considerable experience in implementing POCT models into rural and remote primary health care settings nationally and internationally. There is now sufficient evidence that POCT can be used effectively in wide variety of fields with tangible clinical and financial benefits to patients, health care providers and the health sector in general.
Brooke Spaeth, BMedSc (Hons), PhD Candidate.
Research Officer for Flinders University International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing.
The Flinders International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing is a global leader in point-of-care testing and is recognised for expertise in POCT research and teaching encompassing chronic, acute and infectious diseases. The Centre’s research activities have made a significant contribution to increasing access to health care and improving health outcomes, particularly in Indigenous communities and rural and remote settings nationally and internationally.