Point-of-care testing (POCT) refers to testing performed outside the clinical laboratory near the patient or at the site of patient care. This could be in critical care settings like the intensive care unit (ICU) and emergency department (ED) or primary care settings like physician offices where testing is performed by nonlaboratory personnel. POCT circumvents several steps in central laboratory testing including specimen transportation and processing resulting in faster turnaround times. Provider access to rapid test results at the site of patient care allows for prompt medical decision making which can lead to improved patient outcomes, operational efficiencies, patient satisfaction, and even cost savings in some cases. In addition to providing results rapidly, POCT devices have small specimen volume requirements compared to central laboratory tests making POCT particularly attractive for pediatric healthcare settings. The availability of published reports on the impact of POCT implementation in pediatric care are helpful resources when evaluating the clinical necessity of POCT prior to implementation. Even though several studies have shown advantages to implementing POCT in different pediatric settings, it is important to note that limitations exist that might limit the utilization of certain POCTs in some pediatric populations. So, it is important that these limitations and the analytical performance of a test are considered while keeping the target patient population in mind. Since POCTs are performed by non-laboratory staff who are not trained laboratory personnel, one challenge with POCT is maintaining regulatory compliance and quality assurance. It is therefore important that regulatory and quality assurance programs be put in place prior to implementing POCT in the pediatric hospital. With advances in POCT technology, most POCT devices have the capability to interface to the laboratory information system (LIS) and electronic medical record (EMR). POCT device interfacing allows for improved compliance to regulatory and quality assurance standards. Maintaining a cost efficient POCT program is becoming increasingly important as hospitals and healthcare systems are undergoing consolidation and harmonization. This includes assessing the clinical and operational benefit of POCT before implementation and inventory management to ensure minimal reagent wastage. This review discusses these different considerations when implementing POCT with a focus on the pediatric healthcare setting.
- Point-of-care testing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical